COMMUNICATIONS from the Bishop

No. 915          Diocese of Marbel, Philippines                   16 January 2017


DENR Secretary Regina “Gina” Paz Lopez cancelled last February 14, 2017 75 mine contracts.  She said it is her “gift of love to the people in Cotabato” (PDI, 15 Feb. 2017, p. A9).

This includes the SMI’s $5.9B Tampakan Copper and Gold Project in South Cotabato, Davao del Sur, Sarangani and Sultan Kudarat.

This project will adversely affect people in these provinces and pollute six rivers.

It will threaten people’s health and food security as it destroys the environment.

Secretary Lopez’ decision is in accordance with Section 16, Article II of the 1987 Philippines Constitution: “The State shall protect and advance the right of the people to a balanced and healthful ecology in accord with the rhythm and harmony of nature.”

Caring for our common home is mandated by Pope Francis’ Encyclical Letter ‘Laudato Si’” (24 May 2015).

Above all, God wills that we “cultivate and take care” of His ‘garden’ – the planet Earth. (Gen. 2: 15).

Mining’s contribution to Philippine economy is insignificant.  Ms. Solita Collas – Monsod in her column “Get Real” writes:

“Mining industry statistics (as of Dec. 15, 2016) show that the gross value added in mining averaged about 0.65 percent of GDP for 2012 – 2016, and that includes non-metallic mining.”

Exports?  “The same data indicate that the mining industry, both metallic and non-metallic, accounts for about 5 percent of total exports.”

Employment?  “The industry account for about 0.6 percent of total employment.”

She concludes: “Definitely not a mortal blow.  And think of the benefit to the Filipino people, now and in the future” (PDI, Feb. 11, 2017, p. A12).

Let us pray for Secretary Lopez and President Duterte that they would follow the Constitution and obey God.  We pray for the capitalists that they would consider the common good over financial gains.



Date and venue:          January 28-30, 2017.

Pope Pius XII Catholic Center, Manila

Some decisions made

  • Esteban Lo, LRMI, Archdiocese of Manila, as elected National Director, Pontifical Mission society.
  • Amendments to the Complementary Norms regarding the Extraordinary Administration, alienation of Goods and Lease and Rentals of Church properties.
  • Statement regarding summary killings.
  • Pastoral statement on “amending the Constitution.”
  • Pastoral Guidelines on the Use of Social Media.
  • A Statement of one paragraph each on Death Penalty and a Lowering of the Age of Criminality to 9 years old.


  • The Statement on summary killings was printed in “Communications from the Bishop”, No. 914, 14 February 2017.
  • Pastoral Guidelines on the use of Social Media – a photocopy will be furnished DXCP.

Excerpt from the Pastoral Letter on Amending the Constitution

“We write to you not to endorse or disapprove moves to amend the 1987 constitution but to offer pastoral guidelines whatever decision may be taken on this matter.”

  1. Christ’s followers “were being sent to penetrate the world with the values of the Gospel, so that the Kingdom of God might come to the world and transform it.”
  2. Hence we call on you, to participate in the political processes of our country.
  3. “be vigilant and watch over, and even suggest ideas and formulations that enter into the Constitution.” Let us be “sure that the resulting document embodies ‘our rights, our ideals, our aspirations and our dreams’ (Commissioner Jose Nollado).”
  4. “We urge you to get involved in the process of amending the Constitution so that all its provisions will be consistent with the Gospel, and the gains of the 1987 Constitution will be preserved and enhanced, instead of being removed.”
  5. “sovereignty resides in the people and all government authority emanates from them” (art. II, Sec. 1). “Public office is a public trust (Art. XV, Sec. 1).”
  6. “The state values the dignity of every human person and guarantees full respect for human rights” (Art. II, Sec. 11).
  7. “No person shall be deprived of life, liberty or property without due process of law, nor shall any person be denied the equal protection of the laws” (Art. III, Sec. 1). “The State shall equally protect the life of the mother and the unborn from conception” (Art. II, Sec. 12).
  8. “And let us continue to maintain the safeguards against dictatorial martial law” (Art. VIII, Sec. 18).
  9. And many other rights in the 1987 Constitution.
  10. Federalism – study.


Statement on the Death Penalty

The Gospel of the Lord Jesus is the Gospel of life.  It is this Gospel we must preach.  It is this Gospel that we must uphold.  We therefore unequivocally oppose proposals and moves to return the death penalty into the Philippine legal system.  We took a considerable stride in the defense of life when we repealed the heinous Crimes Act that provided for the death penalty in what were considered “heinous crimes”.  We regret that there are strident efforts to restore the death penalty.  Though the crime be heinous, no person is ever beyond redemption, and we have no right ever giving up on any person.  When we condemn violence, we cannot ourselves be its perpetrators, and when we decry murder, we cannot ourselves participate in murder, no matter that it may be accompanied by the trappings of judicial and legal process.  Throughout the world, the trend against the death penalty is unmistakable, and international covenants, one of which the Philippines is party to, obligate us not to impose the death penalty.  We urge the government to champion life for all!

For the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines


Archbishop of Lingayen-Dagupan

President, CBCP

January 30, 2017


Statement on the Age of Criminal Liability

 The Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines implores Congress of the Philippines to keep intact the Juvenile Justice and Welfare Act, especially regarding the age of criminal liability.  We are therefore opposed to lowering the age of criminal liability.  The purpose of the law is laudable, its present provisions, beneficial.  The sins and failings of the young and immature should not mar the possibilities of one’s future or stand forever in the name of an honorable and noble reputation that can, in later years, be very well built.  The fact that criminal elements make use of youngsters up to fifteen years old to commit crimes is no argument against the present benevolent provisions of the law but about the resoluteness of criminals in using even the young for their purposes.  The correct response, we believe, is vigilance on the part of parents and stiffer penalties for those who exploit the young in the perpetration of crime.


Archbishop of Lingayen-Dagupan

President, CBCP

January 30, 2017

Back to: 2017 Communications from the Bishop


About bishopdinualdo

Bishop Dinualdo D. Gutierrez is the Bishop of the Diocese of Marbel
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