PHILIPPINES The diocese of Imus against mining on the seabed

They destroy marine ecosystems and harm fishing: there are two excavations at the bottom of the sea in Manila Bay that have been advancing without interruption for two years. The opposition of the local communities mobilized around the request of the Bishop, Mons. Reynaldo G. Evangelista

Manila () – The extraction of minerals of high commercial value such as manganese, copper, cobalt, zinc and rare earths from the seabed off the Philippine coast constitutes a threat to the environment and human life in Manila Bay. The bishop of the diocese of Imus, Reynaldo G. Evangelista, is one of the few who opposes underwater quarries. The prelate, together with the diocese’s pastoral ministry for the environment, has launched a campaign to stop the exploitation of the seabed of the San Nicolás shoal. It is an extraction area that extends from the city of Noveleta to Ternate, passing through Rosario, Tanza and Naic.

There are two projects underway in the bay, both in Cavite’s coastal waters: the Philippine Reclamation Authority’s Seabed Quarry Project, which began in 2021 and spans 5,000 square nautical miles, and VIL Mines Inc.’s San Nicolas Shoal Seabed Quarry Project. , which began in 2022 and covers approximately 8,530 miles.

Meanwhile, a group of scientists called the Advocates of Science and Technology for the People (AGham) stated that they were extremely concerned about dredging and mineral extraction operations from the seabed and the damage they cause to deep marine ecosystems off the coast. From philippines.

Last February AGHAM published a report showing that the continued dredging and mining of seabed minerals in Manila Bay endangers natural marine and coastal habitats, and would even threaten the country’s fisheries production. Scientists say, in effect, that mining activities are driving fish out of the bay area of ​​the Philippine capital because of the pollution and noise that comes with it. And this is what the Cavite fishermen themselves attest to.

In the northern and eastern sectors of Manila Bay, which include Bulacan, Metro Manila and Cavite -according to a recent investigation by the National Institute for Fisheries Research and Development- the newly hatched larvae of millions of fish that arrive there to reproduce because They find a cozy habitat thanks to the mangroves that cover these places.

Monsignor Evangelista asked all Catholics in the diocese and in the region to help raise awareness among the inhabitants about the damage caused by these quarries, both to the environment and its delicate ecosystems and to human activities such as fishing. The communication campaign of the diocese of Imus also intends to defend the seabed which, due to the excavations, becomes weaker, which makes the effect of waves and tides on the coasts during monsoons and storms more serious.

The exploitation of these quarries goes against the teaching of Pope Francis’ encyclical “Laudato Sì” and the invitation he addresses to all Christians, and in general to all men and women, to live in communion with the environment. . Bishop Reynaldo G. Evangelista’s campaign is also finding support in barangays (towns) outside the diocese, with many people flocking to the diocesan sanctuary and Imus cathedral in Nuestra Señora del Pilar parish to sign the petition.

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Written by Editor TLN

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