October 25, 2010

The quest for minerals in the Philippines is taking its toll on the nation’s poorest residents — the indigenous population, said a Filipino priest who advocates on their behalf.

“We are trying to influence the World Bank policy on extracting,” said Father Edwin Garriguez, executive secretary for social action, justice and peace for the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines.

Garriguez had been invited by the World Bank to speak on the Filipino mining situation as part of a panel discussion.

“We might not get everything we ask for, but we can insist that the (mining) companies adopt international standards,” Garriguez said in an interview with Catholic News Service.

Most mining companies are based outside the Philippines, the priest said.

Although they say they consult with the indigenous peoples in the Philippines’ mountain regions before they start mining, “consultation is not enough.

The permission of the indigenous people has to be secured.”