Today, we have ended our two-day Solidarity Mission here in MacArthur, Leyte. I have been with Goldman Environmental Award 2012 recipient Fr. Edu Gariguez (Executive Secretary of CBCP-NASSA) together with the Social Action Centers of the Archdiocese of Palo and Dioceses of Calbayog and Borongan.
We have weighed the pros and cons of the issue on magnetite mining in the ricefields of MacArthur. We have talked to concerned regional representatives of national government agencies, the academe and the community of Lake Bito in Barangay Villa Imelda, MacArthur town in the province of Leyte. We have visited the almost two-month old barricade and slept in the barricade with the community.
Today, the newly installed Archbishop of Palo (Leyte) Most Rev. John Du, together with some priests visited the mining site and the barricade. Archbishop Du lamented: 'My heart bleeds'.
We are now requesting all of your organizations to send an urgent appeal to MGB Director Leo Jasareno and DENR Secretary Ramon Paje to visit Lake Bito as soon as possible due to imminent danger to the fishery and rice farming livelihhoods posed by magnetite mining. This appeal is due to the fact that the community has lost trust and confidence on the regional representatives of DENR and MGB, who are acting as 'lawyers' of the mining company.
Kindly send your urgent appeal/letter to MGB and DENR today or tomorrow.
The details of our Solidarity Mission is described in the following Press Release, and next is the letter of Mr. Jesus Cabias to President Benigno Simeon C. Aquino III.
I humbly hope for your favorable and immediate response and action.
Rodne (Alyansa Tigil Mina)