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Mining in the Philippines...

Mining in the Philippines
A Tale of Two Powers

By Charles Avila

The Essence of Stewardship

(3rd of three parts)

Mining Part III Vol 46-N. 04
pp. 7-9

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  • AGRICULTURE & ECO TOURISM
    No to mining in Palawan AND other
    Key Biodiversity Areas (KBAs)
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  • Ang yaman ng Palawan ay yaman ng Pilipinas It is known as the Philippines’ Last Ecological Frontier. It has 40% of our country’s remaining mangrove areas, 30% of our coral reefs, at least 17 Key Biodiversity Areas (KBAs), 2 UNESCO World Heritage Sites, and 8 declared Protected Areas (PAs). It is unmatched anywhere in the country.
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Mining Part III Vol 46-N. 04 Mining Part III Vol 46-N. 04 Document Transcript

  • Vol. 46 No. 4 • April 2012 Php 70.00
  • ARTICLES NASSA National Director and Manila Auxiliary Bishop Brod- erick Pabillo explains to forum participants the rationale behind Kilusang 99%. Photo courtesy of CBCP-NASSA44 IMPACT • April 2012
  • ARTICLES The growing calls for PNoy to implement asset reform laws seriouslyBy Honey P. Beso/NASSA distribute 175,545 hectares. There still Astovesa said. remains more than 800,000 hectares that should be given to farmers before the law Aborted enfranchisement of fisherfolks FTER holding presidency for under Fisheries CodeA expires in 2014. nearly two years, President Be- Fernandez attributed DAR’s dismal Just like the farmers and indigenous nigno “Noynoy” Aquino has yet performance partly to the budget cuts im- people, the fisherfolks suffer whenever theto show tangible programs to prove his posed by Congress that swipes half of the environment—their immediate source ofsincerity to steer the country away from fund needed for proper implementation of income, are damaged or abused. Activitiesdebilitating poverty brought about by the program. like large-scale fishing especially withininjustice and corruption. She said the department also suffers protected areas and use of explosives or The government has allocated bil- from inertia because of the administra- blast fishing are those that damage thelions of pesos funding temporary relief tion’s apparent lack of support for agrarian water resources.services like 4Ps, Pantawid Pasada, and reform. The Fisheries Code of the Philip-other short-ranging programs to ease the In late 2011, the plan of the execu- pines provides several mechanisms toburden of high prices of commodities and tive to merge DAR with the Department protect the Philippine waters through thetransportation. of Agriculture and Department of Envi- empowerment of the fishefolks under the However, it has been found negligent ronment and Natural Resources surfaced Fisheries and Aquatic Resource Manage-in supporting asset reform laws that are that triggered a general objection from its ment Councils (FARMC). FARMC is con-expected to unshackle millions of poor employees. Many ascribe the scheduled sidered to be the highpoint of the program.Filipinos from poverty. dissolution of DAR to PNoy’s indifference It allows for the representation of farmers In an Asset Reform Forum orga- to CARP, who has yet to speak on the issue in the council with other stakeholders innized by Kilusang 99% on March 28 of Hacienda Luisita. the communities, like the women and theat the Association of Marine Officers youth and the local government officials.and Seamen’s Union of the Philippines Failure to stop entry of destructive Here, the council members are supposed(AMOSUP) in Intramuros, around 190 projects in ancestral lands to deliberate the preservation and sustain-leaders representing 11 organizations from “The Indigenous People’s Rights able use of fishing grounds as well as thethe urban poor, farmer, fisherfolk, laborer Act has been in existence for 14 years, development of the fisherfolks’ sector.and indigenous people’s sectors bemoaned but until now, the right of the indigenous But contrary to what was expected,the government’s lax attitude towards the peoples to their ancestral land is still not the FARMC was unsuccessful in strength-implementation of the existing asset reform being upheld,” declared Ramcy Astovesa, ening the voice of the fishefolks becauselaws, like CARPER, Indigenous People’s an Agta and Executive Director of Tribal those elected to the leadership post doRights Act (IPRA), Urban Development Center for Development. not usually come from the sector itself.Housing Act (UDHA) and the Fisheries According to him, there are many Rafael “Ka Raffy” Oliveras of BigkisCode of the Philippines. government agencies created for the pro- Lakas Pilipinas, Inc, complained about Quite the reverse, the government tection of the rights of IPs, but nearly every the absence of complimentary barangayhas allowed drastic budget cuts in some of one failed in their mandates. ordinance to implement the Fisheries Codethese programs while aggressively push- Nap Buendicho, also an Agta tribal of the Philippines and of the limitationsing for projects that contradict the spirit governor in Quezon, shared that most of FARMC. “Its recommendatory statusof these laws. employees of the National Commission [FARMC] also renders it powerless to ef- The forum, themed “Tunay na Re- on Indigenous People (NCIP) are not even fectively monitor the implementation ofporma Ipatupad! Katarungang Panlipunan conversant on the provisions of IPRA, the law.” According to him, the mayor isPara sa Lahat”, was able to document much more the meaning of Free Prior and the one given the sole power to determinevarious experiences of the basic sectors in Informed Consent or FPIC. the budget for operation and to approveterms of the government’s performance in “Most of the time, the government permits for foreign fishing companies.the implementation of said laws. officials are themselves involved in the Meanwhile, the fishefolks also suffer selling of ancestral lands to corporations,” from other problems like water siltationCARPER in critical condition Buendicho lamented. due to waste, pollution of the sea and other Joan Fernandez, representative of Possession of Certificate of An- water ways due to chemical farming ofKatarungan farmers’ group, bared the cestral Domain Title (CADT) – the main upland areas and mine tailings from min-perilous state of CARPER as it nears its tenural instrument for the IPs can no longer ing sites, influx of private fish ponds, andtermination in 2014. guarantee one’s security in the land. extensive commercialization of coastal Out of the total 383,515 hectares “Even those tribes who were award- communities granted to establishment oftargeted for distribution between July ed with CADT or CALT are still helpless in exclusive resorts.2009 to December 2011, the Department preventing the entry of corporations with “If the government really wants toof Agrarian Reform was only able to vested interests in their ancestral domains,” safeguard the interest of the fisherfolks, it Volume 46 • Number 4 5
  • The Growing Calls for PNoy to implement Asset Reform Laws Seriouslyshould start with the creation of a separate examined the labor policies of the Aquino But like PAL, Hanjin was also sup-department that will exclusively attend to administration. ported by DOLE in its refusal to disallowthe development of our sector. It is time Gerardo “Ka Gerry” Rivera, president the creation of unions that could protectthat we have our own Department of Fish- of Philippine Airlines Employees’Associa- the rights of workers inside the shipyard.eries and Aquatic Resources,” Oliveras tion (PALEA) who is now locked in a labordeclared. row with the Philippine Airlines, pointed Kilusang 99 vows to awaken 99% to out the increasing trend of contractual push for social reformInformal settlers still await relief of policies in the country. Manila Auxiliary Bishop and NationalUDHA Citing data from the Department of Secretariat for Social Action (NASSA) The urban poor sector, represented by Labor and Employment, Rivera explained Director, Broderick Pabillo, explained theAdelo Flores of Homeowners Federation of that around 70% of the construction force objective of the forum to unify the calls ofNorthville and Southville, Inc., (HFNSI) of the country work under a contractual the varying sectors.shared about the problems being faced by basis while more than 50% of hotel and “Our basic sectors have long beentheir sector with regards the housing and restaurant personnel are covered by the complaining about the government’s lackdevelopment program of the government. same arrangement. of support to the asset reform laws in the “We were not given livelihood oppor- “The trend of contractualization in country. But the problem is that they dotunities in relocation sites. Basic services the country has increased because of the so individually—without looking at thelike water are also lacking, while others greed for profit of big corporations,” de- broader problems of the society”, Pabillohave not yet received individual notices clared Rivera. explained.of awards (INAs),” he explained. “There are excessive revenues and “We have defective development Livelihood opportunities are an urgent huge savings because contractual employ- policies which are not pro-poor. They arecomponent of the program as its absence in ees have low salaries, limited benefits, not inclusive and often have narrow under-any relocation site will force awardees to deplorable work conditions, and are afraid standing of genuine and people-centeredleave or sell their houses in search of jobs. to put up labor unions that will push for development,” he added. Flores also charged some officials of collective bargaining with the employers,” Pabillo likewise expressed the need forthe National Housing Authorities of fail- he added. the sectors to come together. “The probleming to explain well the responsibilities of Rivera explained that PAL tried to go of one sector is the problem of all becausebeneficiaries as stated under the law. This by this route to rake in more profits. “With our lives are interwoven.”failure on the part of NHA often results to the spin-off program proposed by PAL “Let us educate and engage all Filipinosthe revocation of people’s INAs. and upheld by the Aquino administration, for a meaningful social reform. Let us not “Many beneficiaries now pay for higher Lucio Tan is expected to earn an annual allow the 1% of the population to exercisetransportation cost due to the distance of the profit of Php360 million, at the expense exclusive control of the country’s resources.relocation site from their sources of liveli- of 2,400 workers,” he said. Let us awaken the 99% to become a forcehood, and yet some officials in NHA field Aside from PAL, a Korean shipyard, for social reform,” Pabillo declared. Ioffices cannot even assist them properly in “Hanjin” also practices the same labortheir basic needs,” Flores said. violation. Rivera said there are currently (Kilusang 99% is circulating a Manifesto 21,000 contractual employees in Hanjin that enumerates a number of proposals forDoes government tolerate anti-labor who are forced to suffer nefarious work social reform. For those who want to bepolicies? conditions at the shipyard all the while part of the movement or to get a copy of Aside from the asset reform programs enduring the maltreatment of their Korean the Manifesto, please email the secretariatof the government, Kilusang 99%, also employees. at kilusangninetynine@yahoo.com.) Photo courtesy of CBCP-NASSA 6 IMPACT • April 2012
  • ARTICLES Mining in the Philippines A tale of two powers (3rd of three parts) Photo courtesy of Rodne GalichaBy Charles Avila restraint and responsibility in the use of reduction, innovations in waste manage- our natural resources. No matter how ment, mine closure and rehabilitation, human beings may progress in science, and ecosystem risk management? Can aThe Essence of Stewardship freedom, and power, they should not dare company extract millions of tons of rock In essence, if we understand steward- abuse this responsibility and in the process from the Earth and still manage to be aship properly we must assert: mining proj- contradict their own human nature with the friend of the environment? How is thatects that cannot absorb the environmental consequence of destroying themselves and going to be done?and social costs of modern responsible their environment. And is it good enough merely tomining shall not be allowed to proceed. Nature is to be creatively transformed "contain" minings toxic by-products in- Stewardship understood in this way but not to be relentlessly exploited. The definitely, as current ‘green’ mining com-means primarily the preservation and slogan should be, “Need rather than greed.” panies do? And should there not be utterconservation of nature. However, it does We must not encourage people to wantonly transparency in reporting toxic miningnot in any way preclude the creative trans- engage in activities without taking into waste, in the methods used for battlingformation of nature, represented by human consideration risks and negative conse- AMD, and maintaining dam integrity andingenuity and technology. In performing quences. Local governments that readily passing the so-called 100-year flood tests?this task, however, human beings must allow rare-earth-elements-seeking foreign While sustainable mining looks good onrecognize that they can only proceed within companies to haul off hills and lands for paper, the industry may still have somea certain limit and that the resources with the sake of immediate revenue windfalls way to go before it can be considered evenwhich they must work are not necessarily must be stopped by people and state from truly safe and green.1 How real and trueinexhaustible. their utter madness. and effective is a Norwegian Company’s Thus, stewardship—to the chagrin of Who will foot the bill for researches claim of adopting green mining in itsmany—entails, more than anything else, and applications in the area of footprint Mindoro operation?2 Volume 46 • Number 4 7
  • ARTICLESThe More Urgent Questions All these questions are real and urgent.But to most ordinary people in the ambitof mining companies’ ambitions, problemsclose to their skin are even more urgentthan others. Imagine you are now MangAndo or Aling Sion or Noy Miano orsome other ordinary folk. Imagine that aforeign corporation arrived one day withyour national government’s blessing andseized your home; destroyed your localstore, local farms and gardens, your church,your favorite park; polluted your drinkingand bathing water; created hazardous wastedumps throughout your town; blocked yourefforts to seek justice through the courts;and bankrolled the police who threatened,tortured, raped, and killed family andfriends for trying to resist this destruc- Photo courtesy of Rodne Galichation of your way of life, promised yourlocal government more revenues and thentwisted the arms of some national agenciesto give it more tax holidays than the totalduration of the mining operation. Wouldyou not say that we’d have a few seriousethical questions in our hands? Yet, not I, not the Bastes Commissionin Rapu-Rapu but the United Nations,and international and local NGOs haveindependently identified such humanrights abuses associated with an increasingnumber of mining operations and which theCBCP as a body is so concerned about.A Code of Ethics And yet, “down under” where bigmining companies come from, there iswhat is called the Australasian Instituteof Mining and Metallurgy, founded in1893 and incorporated by Royal Charterin 1955, which includes an assemblageof scientists, engineers, technologists,geologists and other geoscientists, min-ing engineers and metallurgists, alsoother professional and para-professionalgroups who are engaged in or associated FILE PHOTOwith the industries; and students who arepreparing for careers in the industries,all of whom have committed to and arerequired under their By-law 30 to comply “The principle here is that the inter- tain technological services essential towith their Code of Ethics and with the ests of the community have priority over public welfare;Code for Consultants when practicing the interests of others. It follows that a d. shall in the course of his profes-as such. member: sional life endeavor to promote the well- It may suffice to underscore the a. shall avoid assignments that may being of the community. If his judgment isvery first rule, which they explain and I create a conflict between the interests over-ruled in this matter he should informhereunder quote at length. of his client or employer and the public his client or employer of the possible con- “The responsibility of members for interest; sequences (and, if appropriate, notify thethe welfare, health and safety of the com- b. shall work in conformity with proper authority of the situation);munity shall at all times come before acceptable technological standards and e. shall, if he considers that by sotheir responsibility to the profession, to not in such a manner as to jeopardize the doing he can constructively advance thesectional or private interests, or to other public welfare, health or safety; well-being of the community, contributemembers. c. shall endeavor at all times to main- to public discussion on scientific and 8 IMPACT • April 2012
  • Mining in the Philippines are provided; just wages and benefits required by the labor code are given by the mining company to their employees, including bargaining agreements and recognition of their right to strike. • When the capitalization of the proj- ect is in accordance with the proportion prescribed by law and local capital is ac- corded a level playing field, e.g., no undue advantages and benefits are granted to foreign capitalists to the prejudice of the locals. • When cultural values are not sac- rificed under the guise of development, i.e. the industry does not conflict with traditional cultures which are in harmony with nature. • When ancestral lands are not ex- propriated without just compensation, or in utter disregard for religious sensibili- ties. • When extreme care is taken to FILE PHOTO prevent or at least minimize the risk of serious accidents, as the damage to the environment or human health could betechnological matters in his area of com- less than a moratorium on mining for irreversible. It is necessary to create in-petence.” as long as there were serious envi- struments for monitoring and controlling When you read such lines in a Code ronmental risks not yet satisfactorily both local and transnational operationsof Ethics subscribed to by Australian addressed. with mineral reserves which might resultfirms, you should not be faulted if you in heavy dangers for the life of futurestart wondering whether they have one When is Mining an Exercise in Re- generations.word or whether they have, in fact, a sponsible Stewardship? • When population displacement en-double standard of behavior – one for the After so many more pages have been gendered by mining operations, if neces-home front and another one for invest- added to the literature on this debate I sary and inevitable, is delicately managedments abroad. Would they do or not do in hope we do not lose sight of the basic through humane and equitable relocation,their home countries what they so easily question: when is mining an exercise in and better conducted without physicaldo or not do in our country? Again, we responsible stewardship? The Sorsogon force and violence, as much as possible,Filipinos would have no one to blame Bishop had some suggestions: but rather in the context of reasonable andbut ourselves if we did not know any • When the site on which mining peaceful dialogue.better, if we so easily take as gospel truth is conducted is suitable, that is, one • Most of all, when the “advantages”the grandiose pronouncements of for- that has low permeability foundations, that are envisioned by such explorationeign propagandists, especially the ones poor quality groundwater and a stable and exploitation of nature must not bewe so hospitably allowed to infiltrate geomorphic environment. confined to only a few but should ratherour society and many of our officials’ • When, in the process of mining, reach the majority they are meant tothinking on matters of patriotic concern the ecological balance is not destroyed, benefit.and national interest. In any case, be- that is: there is no harm to essential bio-cause we should not be inventing the diversity; the air and the water are not Let me underscore the present situa-wheel all over again, we just have to be contaminated by toxic wastes (there is tion in our country that needs to find newsmart and adopt best practices already strict enforcement of pollution control ways of thinking and new ways of planningfound abroad and insist on their being measures); there is no serious harm and and controlling mining activities. A con-implemented here. The DENR and the injury to human health. siderable improvement of ethical climateMGB have no lack of knowledge and • When social justice is served: the in our country is needed and I hope someexpertise regarding these matters. But main benefits of mining redound to our of the principles of geo-ethics that weare they now free from captivity? country and not just to foreign mining have discussed here will go a long way Anytime now the Aquino cabinet- interests; our nationals are given prefer- to helping in dispelling muddled thinkinglevel study group for policy and admin- ence in the employment of personnel; and giving us all new clarity of direction.istrative reforms in mining will bring taxes due to the government are paid It is not always easy. Iout their report and recommendations. honestly by the mining company; theWhile waiting for it, the administration working conditions are healthy and _______ Green Living Enterprises, a division of Key Publishersall but seemed 100 percent gung ho for 1 safety measures are in place, and all Company Ltd.more of the same—until last week. The kinds of necessary insurance for the 2 “Intex adopts green mining concept in its Mindoro nickelchurch side for its part urged nothing physical well-being of the workers project”, Manila Bulletin, September 23, 2011, FILE PHOTO Volume 46 • Number 4 9
  • COVERS TO RY Unearthing the environmen The roots of the environmental crisis, like its political cou the ‘collective selfishness, disregard for the other and dis By Fr. Eutiquio B. Belizar, Jr., structures of economic life is one on which crisis, like its political counterpart, are SThD it will not be easy to go forward without moral. For our moral malaise is easily the intervention of a true conversion of seen in the ‘collective selfishness, dis- mind, will and heart” (RH 16). Then in regard for the other and dishonesty’ that characterize environmental degradation. I s our collective conversion crucial his apostolic exhortation Redemptionis to saving the environment? Blessed Donum, he speaks of a greater transfor- If this is so, then the solution must be John Paul II would think so. In Re- mation of another economy, namely that moral. The first step to the moral solu- demptor Hominis, his first encyclical, of salvation covering the cosmos or the tion is conversion. Consequently, we when he speaks of the necessary change universe which defines our relationship must aim at our own conversion and, in the distribution of wealth and eco- to our environment: “Essential to this if we have already entered this process, nomic transformations in the world, he ‘economy’ is the transformation of the we must aim at our conversion to be sees a component which is as necessary entire cosmos through the heart of man, continuing. But why, we must ask. The to the economy as to the restoration or from within: ‘For the creation waits with Savior’s action is enlightening. Before positive transformation of our environ- eager longing for the revealing of the sons he goes proclaiming the kingdom, he first ment. He holds that the “difficult road of of God… (Rom 8:19) [RD 9]”. summons people to conversion. “This is the indispensable transformation of the The roots of the environmental the time of fulfillment,” he says in the16 IMPACT • April 2012
  • COVER S TO RYe roots of ourntal crisisunterpart, are moral. For our moral malaise is easily seen inshonesty’ that characterize environmental degradation. gospel of Mark. Then he outlines the in, to follow the exhortation from the crete because it involves real and specific necessary response. “Repent and believe letter to the Hebrews, “Let us be rid of acts and behavior. It is personal because in the Good News” (Mk 1:15). Conver- every encumbrance and especially of sin” it involves us as individuals, as families sion or, in Greek, metanoia, means a (Heb 12:1). The second moment is that and as communities who as persons total about-face of mind and heart which we must renew our discipleship. As we desire to follow and attach ourselves to ultimately shows in new behavior. It is leave sin, we must not leave a vacuum. the Person of Jesus Christ the Savior. a military word which encapsulates a The only way to do this is to put Christ And it is precisely as disciples of Jesus command to turn around from a direc- where he belongs—at the center of our Christ that we relate and behave towards tion which, in Christian viewpoint, leads life again. Again, to follow the letter to our environment and the ecological real- us away from God in order to return to the Hebrews, “Let us fix our eyes on Jesus ity the way we must. This relationship the Way who is Jesus Christ who alone the founder of our faith and who will bring is, in turn, shaped by convictions and leads us to the Father (Jn 14:6). it to completion” (Heb 12:2). principles rooted in the Gospel of the There are therefore two moments Master. If we are truly converted to the to conversion we must aim at. The first Pillars and Signposts of Conversion Master, it will show in our commitment is putting a stop to sin which in our case to Christian Eco-Discipleship to and a living out of these convictions, FILE PHOTO means all environmental abuse we engage Conversion is not abstract. It is con- as I hereunder set to clarify. Volume 46 • Number 4 17
  • COVERS TO RY service to God. Third, if creation reflects wounds human interrelationships (GenThe Environment is Creation Pointing the goodness of the Creator, no one and 3:6). But that is not all. Sin also woundsto the Good Creator nothing has the right to destroy or deface man’s relationship with the rest of God’s Genesis 1 tells us that God is the this goodness as, for example, through creation. Man is not only alienated fromCreator, the source and origin of all things, pollution and mindless exploitation of the woman (Gen 3:12). Both become alien-living and non-living. This is a conviction environment. ated from their fellow creatures and otherthat pervades the Scriptures. The psalmist creatures from one another (Gen 3:12-19).exclaims: “How varied are your works, Man is Creation’s Crown, Co-Creator Although the serpent is later seen as aLord! In wisdom you have wrought them and Cooperator to God’s Plan representation of the devil, the referencesall, the earth is full of your creatures” (Ps The Second Vatican Council’s Pastoral to the accursed plight of the creature,104:24). Even the prophet Isaiah gives Constitution on the Church in the Modern implying the natural antagonism betweenvoice to the Lord’s own protestation of World or Gaudium et Spes teaches that “all man and beast, clearly teaches that thehis absolute causality over creation: “Thus things on earth must be related to human destructiveness of man’s sin against Godsays the Lord, your redeemer, who formed persons as their center and crown” (GS has also impacted creation and, therefore,you from the womb: ‘I am the Lord who 12). The psalmist agrees and affirms man’s the environment. The alienation of manmade all things, who alone stretched out lofty stature in regard to other creatures: from the earth is especially dramatic. Godthe heavens; when I spread out the earth, “What are humans that you are mindful of tells Adam who, while obeying his wife,who was with me?” (Is 44:24). In the very them, mere mortals that you should care disobeyed their Creator: “Cursed be thenext chapter he repeats the assertion: “Thus for them? You have made them little less ground because of you! In toil shall yousays the Lord, the Holy One of Israel, his than a god and crowned them with glory eat its yield all the days of your life. Thornsmaker: ‘You question me about my chil- and honor. You have given them rule over and thistles shall it bring forth for you, asdren, or prescribe the work of my hands the works of your hands, put all things at you eat of the plants of the field. By thefor me! It was I who made the earth and their feet” (Ps 8:5-7). This is because, at sweat of your face shall you get bread tocreated mankind upon it; it was my hands the very outset, “God created man in his eat, until you return to the ground fromthat stretched out the heavens; I gave the image, in the divine image he created which you were taken. For you are dirtorder to all their host” (Is 45:11-12). him; male and female he created them” and to dirt you shall return” (Gen 3:17-20). God’s causality over all creation (Gen 1:27). In a word, the horrors of environmentalcomes with another message: Creation That man is given the charge “to be abuse are traceable to the depths of ouris good, it being a reflection of the God fruitful and multiply” as well as “fill the human sinfulness. The destruction andwho is good. St. Bonaventure calls God earth and subdue it” (Gen 1:28) presup- depredation that we cause and see on ouras Bonum diffisivum sui, the (highest/ poses man before the fall, with God’s image environment is a continuing manifestationsupreme) Good that overflows out of itself. and likeness undefiled in him and thus be- of how our alienation from God begets ourThe constant refrain of the first chapter of ing filled with his goodness. His dominion alienation from his creation.Genesis supports this. “And God saw how over all creation by no means entitles him What is also clear in the tragic storygood it was” (Gen 1:4, 10, 12, 17, 22, 24) to abuse it. It is rather a charge to be co- of man’s sin and its destructive impact onspeaks volumes of the goodness in God creator with God who diffuses his goodness the environment is that, before it all cameand for this goodness having been shared into those he created. Man is therefore to to pass, there was an original harmonyby his creatures to a lesser or greater de- be responsible in diffusing good out of between man and God’s other creatures.gree. Only after the creation of man and himself as God’s crown creation to his fel- Man and the rest of creation lived as awoman does Genesis make a commentary low creatures, the environment included. community. Because sin has defaced thisas God views his works: “God looked at Only when he becomes unfaithful to the sense of community, it has resulted ineverything he had made and found it very good God will man become capable of man’s and the rest of creation’s mutualgood” (Gen 1:31). God is most pleased doing evil on himself and on his fellow alienation. Environmental depredation bywith his creation with man in it. creatures. Environmental abuse is one of man is its fruit. That all of creation is God’s has very its manifestations.important consequences for the environ- God’s Faithfulness is the Foundationment. First, it means that only God has ab- Sin Defaces Man Who Defaces Creation of our Hopesolute ownership of creation. No creature, and the Environment That God is a loving Deity is readilynot even man himself, can claim the same The fall of Adam and Eve speaks of seen in what he does after man’s tragic fall.absolute ownership over creation since human sin as a rebellion against God and He does not allow tragedy to have the finalonly God is responsible for everything that it has consequences on the environ- say. He issues a promise that reverberatescoming into being and for everything be- ment. Out of a disordered desire to be God’s throughout the history of salvation. To theing maintained in its existence and destiny. equal, man allows the serpent to deceive serpent he declares: “I will put an enmitySecond, human beings therefore are only him into disobeying God’s will as symbol- between you and the woman, and betweenstewards of creation, tasked not only to ized by the command not to touch the fruit your offspring and hers. He will strike at“subdue the earth” (Gen 1:28) but also of the tree of the knowledge of good and your head, while you strike at his heel”“to cultivate and care for it” (Gen 2:15). evil (Gen 2:17; 3:4-7). Small wonder that (Gen 3:15). There are two senses to theseWhen man acts as though he is absolute our Catechism class identifies the original words. The first is the so-called ‘sensusowner of any or part of God’s creation such sin as a sin of pride and disobedience. The simplex’ or simple meaning. Thisthat he does with it as he pleases and not sharing of the forbidden fruit between man refers to the natural hostilityaccording to God’s plan and purpose, he and woman spells not only the tragic act between humans and snakesturns his back on himself and does a dis- of rebellion but also how sin infects and or beasts, a result of sin, but 18 IMPACT • April 2012
  • Unearthing the Roots of Our Environmental Crisisalso as serving ultimately man’s sense of Jesus Christ is Redeemer of Man and That is to say, the Messiah will restoresafety and security. It naturally puts man all Creation creation’s original harmony. He will, ofon the defensive against hostile creatures. The coming of the Redeemer is an- course, first restore man’s relationshipThe second is, in the view of the Christian nounced not only by Genesis. Even the with God and with fellow human beings.faith, the ‘sensus plenior’ or fuller mean- prophet Isaiah declares what he foresees But the Messiah’s work of redemption alsoing. This speaks of the opposition between would be the fruit of his work: “Then the has awesome consequences on nature andman and the devil as represented by the wolf will dwell with the lamb, the leopard the environment. For instance, from the lipsserpent (Wis 2:24; Jn 8:44; Rev 12:9; 20:2) will take rest with the kid, the calf and lion of Jesus the Master we hear how, during hiswhich is to result in the ultimate victory of cub will feed together with a little child to triumphal entrance to Jerusalem, he answersan offspring of the woman, namely Jesus lead them. Befriending each other, the cow the Pharisees’ command that he “rebuke”Christ, over the devil through Christ’s death and the bear will see their young ones lie his rejoicing disciples: “I tell you, if theyand resurrection. John the evangelist states down together” were to keep silent,the Christian claim: “The Son of God ap- (Is 11:6-7). the rocks and stonespeared that he might destroy the works themselves will sing”of the devil” (1 Jn 3:8). (Lk 19:39-40). In Behind this victoryis God’s fidelity to hisword of promise.It is this faithful-ness that giveshumankind andthe environmentunmitigatedhope. The proofof God’s faithful-ness is the ap-pearance of the‘offspring’ whostages an ex-ecution of God’splan and workof redemption.The Redeemer’scoming and actu-ally crushing theserpent by hisself-sacrifice isthe ultimate rea-son for ourhope. FILE PHOTO Volume 46 • Number 4 19
  • COVERS TO RYother words, the joy of his disciples at hisdefinitive action to go through his savingdeath and resurrection in Jerusalem is thejoy of the environment as well. Both manand the environment will reap the fruits ofredemption. In the theology of St. Paul welearn that all creatures, humans and non-humans, are interconnected in the fall aswell as in the rising and restoration. “Forcreation awaits with eager expectationthe revelation of the children of God, forcreation was made subject to futility, notof its own accord but because of the onewho subjected it, in hope that creationitself would be set free from slaveryto corruption and share in the gloriousfreedom of the children of God” (Rom8:19-21).Respect for Human Life and DignityAlso Serves the Ecology In Genesis God assigns to the lowerforms of creation man’s sustenance. This FILE PHOTOwe gather indirectly from his words to man:“See, I give you every seed-bearing plantall over the earth and every tree that hasseed-bearing fruit on it to be your food, love for his brother is a murderer” (1 Jn Saving the Environment is Only Pos-and to all the animals of the land, all the 4:15). On the other hand, one who truly sible Through Solidarity (Realizationbirds of the air, and all the living creatures loves, respects human life and human of Community Among Humankind andthat crawl on the ground, I give all the dignity, and one who does so, serves the God’s Creation)green plants for food” (Gen 1:29-30). The well-being of the environment. I always remember a haunting song ofexistence and well-being of these lower the 1960s by Peter and Gordon (Peter Ashercreatures within the entire environment Integrity of Creation Requires Integral and Gordon Waller), attributed originallyhave a direct co-relation to human life Development to Paul McCartney and John Lennon butand its sustenance. That is to say, if the Integrity means wholeness, perfec- which they entrusted to Peter and Gordon.environment suffers, human life is put tion, flawlessness. Applied to creation, It was titled ‘World Without Love’. Thein peril. One therefore sees as perfectly it means serving the environment’s well- first verse is unforgettable: “Please locklogical Blessed John Paul II’s teaching being and over-all health so that it may me away/ And don’t allow the day/ Herethat: “Respect for life and, above all for continue its purpose of being life’s source inside where I hide with my loneliness/ Ithe dignity of the human person, is the of sustenance. When greed, selfishness, don’t care what they say I won’t stay in aultimate guiding norm for any sound eco- disregard for others and dishonesty enter world without love.” I would tell myself:nomic, industrial or scientific progress” the picture of environmental dynamics, “You won’t stay in a world without love?and that “no peaceful society can neglect the integrity of creation suffers and is Neither will I.” A world without love is aeither respect for life or the fact that there directly threatened. Only when people world in which every man lives only foris an integrity to creation” (1990 World aim at total human development is the himself, with little or no concern for othersDay of Peace Message, no. 7). Another integrity of creation also served. Total or even for the world around him. This isconsequence is the insight that human or integral development is so called the haven for environmental degradation.abuse of the environment also means because it covers not only the economic This is the world without a community.disrespect for human life and human or material welfare of peoples but also It is a place no one wants because it is adignity. For example, he who pollutes of the other dimensions of their life situation totally opposite to God’s purposeand over-quarries the Suribao River may as well, such as the spiritual, cultural, and plan for all creation. When God createdbe trying to earn a living for his family psychological and social aspects. It in- the world, with man in it, he saw that itthrough copra-making or maintaining a cludes not only the individual but also was “very good” (Gen 1:31) because theregravel-and-sand business. But his action the community for the “good of one and was not only order and harmony; theredirectly causes contamination of the the good of all” intersect (Solicitudo was a community of man with man, andriver’s fish food and habitats as well as soil Rei Socialis, nn. 29, 38). If mining and man with the rest of creation. We hear oferosion that destroys farms and the river logging help add more income to some Adam’s joy-filled exclamation when heitself which are sources of life-sustaining poor workers but destroy the rivers, for- meets Eve: “Here at last is the bone of mygoods. One thing is clear therefore. That is ests and mountains that they share with bone and the flesh of my flesh” (Gen 2:23).to say, the environmental abuser violates all other people, it is a one-dimensional That is the first human community wherehuman life in the same degree that, as John development, and a one-dimensional human persons discover love and the lovethe evangelist teaches, “he who has no development is fake. discovered generates joy. Then God calls 20 IMPACT • April 2012
  • Unearthing the Roots of Our Environmental Crisis “I can only eat one at a time. The other one belongs to another hungry human being.” Moderation means behaving within bounds or limits. When I violate laws guarding over the exploitation of the air, rivers, seas, mountains and minerals, I violate modera- tion and become an environmental abuser. For example, if I smoke in public places in total disobedience to present laws, I flout moderation and become an environmental abuser. Discipline means doing the right thing at the right time and at the right place. If I harvest fish or plants when they are still immature, my lack of discipline results in wastage that destroys the environment. Sense of Sacrifice, sacrifice originating from the Latin ‘sacrum’ or ‘sacred’ and ‘facere’ or ‘to do/to make’ is a recognition that there are sacred things for which I must deny myself. A good, clean, healthy environment of clean air, clean water and respected soil or plants is a sacred dwelling place of the Creator which manifest his goodness. I must deny FILE PHOTO my tendency to dirty or pollute as well as to harm and obtain beyond my need. My sacrifice is necessary for the environment toAbraham to be a “father of many nations”, visible and the invisible, whether thrones stay healthy and wealthy for the continuedthat is, to be a founder of the community or dominions or principalities or powers, benefit of all.of the human family. This vision God tries all things were created through him andto realize in Israel when he calls Moses to for him” (Col 1:15-16). Social Justice and Loveform a people of his own choosing through Denying future generations the en-whom he would call all nations, as Isaiah New Lifestyle: Simplicity, Moderation, joyment of healthy, clean and productivewould say (Is 56:6-8). Jesus continues the Discipline, Sacrifice forests, clean air, rivers, seas, mountainsdream and the task when calls the Twelve Conversion to Jesus Christ that is not only as sources of livelihood but alsoas his inner circle, his own model commu- manifested in eco-discipleship not only as integral components of their culture,nity (Mt 10:2-5), sinners all but whom he means rejecting sinful acts against the identity and heritage is a gross injusticecalls to “love one another as I have loved environment. It also means, as Blessed (Plenary Council of the Philippines II,you” (Jn 15:12). John Paul II affirms, that modern society no. 304). But this is what happens when The other and more secular name for should take “a serious look at its lifestyle. the environment is abused or destroyedcommunity is ‘solidarity’. This is what the In many parts of the world society is given through selfish exploitation and carelesssalvation of the environment calls for. It to instant gratification and consumerism mismanagement. That is why in the Junemeans rich nations and poor nations work- while remaining indifferent to the damage 10, 2002 Declaration on the Environmenting hand in hand to protect and care for the which these cause…If an appreciation by Pope John Paul II and Patriarch Bar-earth, the rich not imposing on the poor of the value of the human person and of tholomew I of Constantinople both Churchmore stringent laws that they had previ- human life is lacking, we will also lose leaders recommend that people “think ofously violated, the poor not committing the interest in others and in the earth itself. the world’s children when we reflect onerrors of the rich when their insatiable drive Simplicity, moderation and discipline, as and evaluate our options for action” on thefor wealth resulted in damaged nature. well as a spirit of sacrifice, must become environment (June 10, 2002 DOE). SinceThat is to say, it is creating out of nations a part of everyday life, lest all suffer the love is the crown of all virtues, it is lovea real, working community, concerned negative consequences of the careless that should govern all Christian attitudes,with their common wealth which is the habits of a few” (1990 World Day of Peace decisions and actions on the environment,earth and the welfare of the environment, Message, n. 13). It is useful to consider knowing that its well-being and welfareconcerned with fellow humans in their the components of this new lifestyle for are also necessities of other human beings,needs as well as in protecting the natural a better eco-discipleship. Simplicity is particularly “future generations” who areresources that supply those needs. This freedom from luxury that is actually an “our children”, not aliens or strangers (PCPcan only happen if Christ is recognized as excess. Living simply so that others my II 305). Even if they are not visible now,the center and Savior of all creation. St. simply live means being generous to the and by virtue of their having no voice,Paul portrays the vision of a community of less fortunate when it comes to the things they number among the “the least broth-man and creation centered in Christ: “He beyond my needs. ers and sisters” of the Lord on whom, inis the image of the invisible God, the first There is a tale of a fisherman who caught effect, we inflict our actions or inactionsborn of all creation. For in him were cre- two huge fishes. He returned the other to the that harm or cherish the environment (Mtated all things in heaven and on earth, the sea. When asked why he did that, he said: 25:40, 45). I Volume 46 • Number 4 21
  • beoi ow s r v e k Hope for Church Renewal Gentle Treasures Guidelines on Pastoral Formation Stories of Women against Mining in the Philippines Judy Pasimio, Farah Sevilla & Edel Garingan, EditorsFidel P. Palisoc The book is a compilation ofBased on a study done by stories of different womenthe author of the programs leaders, coming from variouson pastoral formation offered backgrounds, including com-in the seminaries across the munity leaders, professionals,Philippines, this volume can legislators, elected local of-be considered a most valu- ficials and activists. The bookable addition to the writings features, among other things,on pastoral formation of the continued advocacy for thepriests. The book examines repeal of the Philippine Miningthe situation of formators Act of 1995 and the champion-dedicated exclusively to ing of the alternative mineralthe pastoral formation of management bill in Congress;seminarians as mandated and the struggles of indigenousby law in major seminar- peoples who campaign againsties; and takes the reader mining projects in their areasthrough the authentic mean- amid harassments and abuses. The “women’s stories re-ing of pastoral formation as flect misery, economic displacement, broken relationshipstaught by the Magisterium (the teaching authority of and environmental degradation.” The book is an effort tothe Church). The concerned reader will be pleased to make the public aware that women are also at the forefrontfind a flexible model for pastoral formation “that can be of the struggle against mining; that “opposition in mining isimplemented in several ways.” The author, with audacity, not just bounded by the unfair sharing of revenues in thecomes up with very interesting suggestions on pastoral mining industry, but covers important issues about women,formation involving the episcopate, the presbyterium, the including violations and abuses of human rights, disrespectformators and laity. to indigenous peoples and marginalization of women.” The book was launched on March 29 by environmental John of the Cross and human rights activists led by Alyansa Tigil Mina as a culmination of the celebration of Women’s month. Man and MysticRichard P. Hardy One Life One story at a time St. John of the Cross, great of the Christian tradition, knew suffering firsthand: his per- Maria Agnes Conchiel Yap- Marcon sonal "dark night" included exile, imprisonment, starva- The best way to read One tion, abuse. Yet, sustained by Life is to first read the front tremendous faith and steeped cover. And then stop. Take in an enormous love for God a break and choose a and humanity, he surrendered quiet spot. This is a book to the Divine and was drawn containing short stories through his experiences to a celebrating life and love profound compassion for and from childhood to adult- solidarity with others. This en- hood. To quote Dr. Angelita gaging biography is the perfect Y. Ledesma, it is "the true introduction, an enjoyable re- voice in purity of experi- acquaintance to a man whose ence." And then in each life, writings, and spirituality story we hear God´s voicehave illuminated the Christian world. The book includes a in the purity of his truths.guide to reading the works of John of the Cross, photos It is hoped that this bookand color reproductions of masterpiece artwork, and an captures your heart to in-extensive bibliography. spire your own "one life." Volume 46 • Number 4 29