Just days before the Holy Week, the Local Government Units of Sablayan and Abra de Ilog in coordination with the Alyansa Laban sa Mina (ALAMIN) and the KAAGAPAY NGO-PO Network of Oriental and Occidental Mindoro spearheaded an ecumenical forum dubbed “Stewardship of the Earth, Ministry for the Poor”. The event was held March 21-22, 2013 at the Sablayan Convention Center this municipality. Around 60 participants composed of LGU employees, pastors from different Christian denominations, Alangan and Tao-Buid Mangyan leaders and Catholic priests attended the activity. The highlights were 3 Biblio-Theological Reflections rendered by Pastor Jeoffrey Landicho and Rev. Pastor Romulo Mari both from the United Church of Christ in the Philippines or UCCP. Rev. Fr. Ruben Villanueva, Parish Priest of Divine Mercy Parish in Murtha, San Jose also shared about his insights against mining in the whole island of Mindoro.
Hon. Ruben Dangupon, IC/ICC representative to the Sangguniang Bayan of Sablayan, Dr. Marius Agua, Jeff Rafa and Ms. Evelyn Cacha of ALAMIN who came directly from Calapan, among others, graced the occasion. Also in attendance were Peping Poyngon and Lunito Daza who are both Mangyan leaders together with their other companions. Mayors Eduardo B. Gadiano and Eric Constantino of Sablayan and Abra de Ilog, respectively, also renewed their common stand against the Mindoro Nickel Project (MNP). The activity intends to sustain and unify the efforts of the two provinces on said socio-political issue. The MNP is bound to crucify us all, inhabitants of this fragile island.
In this material written by David Field of the University of Transkei, he wrote, “To confess that Jesus Christ is Redeemer and Lord demands the church that it repent of its complicity in the destruction of God's creation and commit itself to praxis of ecological healing. To fail to respond to the continued degradation and exploitation of the earth is a denial, in praxis, of the gospel of Jesus Christ.” On April 16, right after the Holy Week, the Supreme Court is bound to have an oral argument on the legality of the Philippine Mining Act and it will be conducted in Baguio City. Let us keep our fingers crossed that our justices would be on our side.
This Holy Week season, may we all be reminded of what Pope Francis have told us: “Let us be protectors of creation, protectors of God’s plan inscribed in nature, protectors of one another and of the environment.” ….