SAC FACILITATED COMMUNITY EXPOSURE IN PALANOG OF THE ECUMENICAL BISHOPS FORUM

4 October 2011, Camalig, Albay- A visit to Goodfound Cement Corp. (Mayon Cement Factory) in Palanog, Camalig Albay highlighted the three-day mining conference of the Ecumenical Bishops Forum (EBF) in the Philippines held from October 3-5, 2011 in Bethlehem Pastoral Center, Sogod, Bacacay, Albay. Bishops, priests and nuns from the Roman Catholic Churches, the United Church of Christ in the Philippines (UCCP), United Methodist Church (UMC), Episcopal Church in the Philippines (ECP), Iglesia Filipina Independiente (IFI) and some anti-mining advocates and community leaders from mining areas participated in this very significant gathering.

As participants passed by the area, they witnessed how the community lived and struggled for their life in the midst of heavy dust. They were also able to observe how these white, powdery limestones drilled from the mineral-rich mountains and hills of Camalig and Guinobatan have encroached the once beautiful greeneries of the community. Staff of the cement factory welcomed the group through an orientation on the operations of the cement factory. A substantive discussion followed between the participants and the staff of the cement plant.

The mining conference was organized by EBF to determine the magnitude of destructions of mining operations in the area. No less than Representative Teddy Casino of the Bayan Muna Partylist graced the gathering and provided a significant input on the mining bill. Fr. Ramoncito S. Segubiense, Executive Director of the Social Action Center in the diocese pointed out a significant victory of the Church and the Alyansa Laban sa Polusyon at Gutom (ALPOG), an organized farmers group in the area, on the decision rendered by the Special Sixteenth Division of the Court of Appeals on September 30, 2010 declaring the ALPOG’s Complaint for Declaration of Nullity of Municipal Ordinance Number 9607 otherwise known as “An ordinance approving the segregation of some lots from the coverage of the land reform program by the Local Government of Camalig, Albay for industrial use”, null and void.

SAC shared the success of the conduct of exposure with the people and lay workers of St. Vincent Ferrer Parish, Mauraro, Guinobatan, Albay led by its parish priest, Fr. Jonathan Calleja.

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