Palawan church leaders call for focus on agriculture, tourism instead of mining

June 14, 2023 - 4:19 PM
Bishop Socrates Mesiona of Puerto Princesa joins protesters at an anti-mining barricade in Brooke’s Point, Palawan on March 7, 2023. (CBCP News)

The Catholic Church in Palawan Island said the local economy should prioritize agriculture and tourism over mining.

In an open letter published Monday, the church leaders called on authorities to make efforts to protect the country’s “last ecological frontier” from further environmental destruction.

“Prohibit the expansion and extension of mining operations and enact a law to prevent the opening of new mines,” a portion of the letter read.

“On the other hand, it would be beneficial to prioritize agriculture and tourism programs,” it stated.

The letter was signed by Bishop Socrates Mesiona of Puerto Princesa, Bishop Broderick Pabillo Taytay, and all the clergy of both apostolic vicariates.

According to them, Palawan has a unique ecosystem that deserves conservation efforts.

“We have only one province, and it is imperative that we appreciate and take care of it,” they said.

“Let us be the path to unity and reconciliation, as we all share the same goal—for the well-being of the people and for the sake of Palawan,” they added.

In making this appeal, the church leaders also requested that officials implement environmental laws and promote the importance of protecting the island’s remaining forests and biodiversity.