SORSOGON CITY (Oct. 21, 2011) - Outspoken Sorsogon bishop, Arturo Bastes told local news group “Media Solutions” how Iron ore mining is slowly destroying the environment in Matnog, Sorsogon, as he also opposed a planned geothermal exploration around Bulusan
volcano that poses risks to communities.
During the “Ecumenical Bishop’s Forum” held in Legazpi City, the effects of mining in the Bicol region was discussed and Bastes dared pro-mining officials in Sorsogon to live with the poor people in the mining areas.
The Bishop lamented at the forum that “only the poor are at a disadvantage as the environment is ravaged, while officials who profit from mining are safe in the comforts of their mansions.”
Bastes added, “the poor have no other choice but to stay in their localities destroyed by mining.”
The Bishop also expressed strong support to the case filed by anti-mining advocates in Sorsogon against the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) and local officials related to the destructive mining ventures in Matnog, Sorsogon, still pending before the sala of executive judge Victor Gella in Sorsogon City.
Named respondents in the said case are Environment Sec. Ramon Paje, Sorsogon, Gov. Raul Lee, Mines and Geosciences Bureau Director Reynulfo Juan and officials of the concerned mining firms.
Bishop Basted also supports the residents of Barcelona, Bulusan, Irosin, Juban and Casiguran towns in Sorsogon in their opposition to the geothermal exploration that has recently been given a go-ahead by the Department of Energy under Geothermal Resource Energy Service Contract (GRESCO) no. 2010 – 01– 015 granting SKI Construction Group the permit to explore geothermal source at the base of the active volcano.
The Bishop’s Ecumenical forum questioned the sufficiency of studies of the Department of Energy on the safety of residents at the base of Mt. Bulusan and possible ill of extracting geothermal energy from an active volcano. (SONNY SALES)