THE social arm of the Roman Catholic Church is opposing a legislative proposal that seeks to reduce the royalty fee of mining communities.
House Bill 8937 will lower royalty on gross output for large-scale metallic mining operations within mineral reservations from 5 percent to 3 percent, Caritas Philippines said through the “CBCP News,” a publication of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP).
The bill “is a clear betrayal of the people, especially the communities affected by mining,” Caritas Philippines President Jose Colin M. Bagaforo was quoted in the article as saying.
Bagaforo, the current bishop of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Kidapawan, said that mining companies should give the royalty shares to the communities “to repay the damages” these firms caused to the natural ecosystems.
“With the lower royalty rate, mining companies are incentivized to comply less with environmental and social regulations. This will put the welfare of the communities and the ecosystems at risk,” the Church official added.
The reduction of royalty rate will make it challenging for mining companies to be accountable, Bagaforo said.
The Church official is urging lawmakers “to defend the people and the environment, and to reject all proposals to open up new mines or expand existing mines.”