Tuguegarao Archbishop Sergio Utleg said he will always fight against magnetite mining in Cagayan Province. Utleg made the statement after he attended the public hearing for the magnetite mining in the offshores of Cagayan province.
“I was and will always be an opposition of mining in Cagayan,” Utleg told Rappler through phone interview.
Utleg blasted the officials of the Department of Environmental and Natural Resources (DENR) and Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB) for continuously entering into agreement with mining firms who want to mine in the province. Magnetite mining in the shorelines of Cagayan province has been stopped since January 2015 when the MGB cancelled all permits of the Chinese firms operating in the coastal towns of Aparri, Buguey and Gonzaga following church-backed protests.
“Ang problema sa kanila, hindi sila nakikinig sa mga sinasabi ng tao. Tinanong ko nga sila, anu pa ba ang gagawin naming para malaman ninyo na ayaw namin yan,” Utleg said. (The problem with them is, they do not listen to the people. I even asked them: what should we do for you to understand that we don’t want mining here in Cagayan.)
“Alam na nga nilang may nag-o-oppose pero sige pa rin sila, tuloy pa rin,” he added. (They already know that the people opposed the operation but they still persist.)
Utleg is known as anti-mining advocate and have been voicing out his opposition on the mining operations in Cagayan since he sit as archbishop of Tuguegarao. He even wrote to President Benigno Aquino III in 2013, calling to stop the operations in the province.
Rumors spread that he walked-out of the public hearing for the said offshore mining yesterday but Utleg is quick on saying that what he did is not a walkout scene.