Monday, March 1, 2010


Irresponsible Mining
Carrascal is located in the Northern most part of the Surigao del Sur and is the last municipality from the boundary of Surigao del Norte. It faces Lanuza Bay and the Pacific Ocean. Carrascal, like most of the other municipalities in the province, is principally a fishing community because of its rich fishing grounds. Secondary source of livelihood is farming. Carrascal has one of the richest mineral deposits in the province particularly nickel and chromites. As a result mining companies poured in with the intention of exploiting these minerals deposits. Year 1992-2000 there were ten (10) MPSA applicants and four of these are already approved and registered, like Clarence T Pimentel Construction and Mining Corporation own by the family of the present governor of the Province, Carrascalanon Development Corporation, Ventura Timber Corporation and another new CTP Mining Corporation with a total of 13,544.40 hectares covered by the applications.
The Mining contractors are now in the process of applying for Environmental Compliance Certificate (ECC) as prelude to the extractions of ores. January 2007 and the CTP Construction and Mining Corporation in Adlay, Carrascal near the boundary of Surigao del Sur and Norte, started its first stage in exploration. After 3 months they expanded in 5 Barangays like in Sitio Gango, Bon-ot, Gamuton, Panikian, Babuyan and Pantukan.
They are trying to appease the people’s resistance with the promise of development, community livelihood, skills and development just like in Gango. They started to build a center for operations and pier for the loading of minerals to the boat. Employment was promised to all, yet till now only half have been employed for construction, and at this time they have mostly been laid off. All these were also the promises made by mining companies which ultimately were proven to mean economic and physical dislocation.
Within five (5) months exploration/operation of CTP in Adlay and by Carrascal Nickel project in Sitio Gango and Bon-ot, a lot of violations are experienced by the people, as follows:
1. Environmental Destruction
According to the reliable report, the above mentioned on operation Mining Construction causes destruction of the mountain that resulted to siltation along the coastline. Fishing grounds were also damaged. Moreover, part of the government mangrove project was also affected. And lastly, the thick dust from the denuded mountain polluting the air around the people’s residence and causing respiratory illness.

2. Moral and Social Impact
Prostitution in Adlay and Bon-ot due to the demand for the women by the seamen in the boats hauling the minerals starts to emerge in the place. This has caused quarrel among husbands and wives in the community since husbands waste their wages on prostitutes. The danger of venereal diseases spreading in Bon-ot is real. (One alleged prostitute who was admitted in a boat manned by Greeks already died of bleeding in July 2007).
Last September 2006, in Sitio Nasipit, Barangay Adlay, a threat of displacement happened to about 20 families who have their own houses and farms and a concrete school built by the government. A petition from the people submitted to MGB – stopped the threat temporarily. Many fishermen, moreover, are now employed in the mining construction, which results to a very little fish supply in Gango. Fish costs P160 per kilo compared to P60-80 per kilo before the mining operations, and supply of fish is not enough for the community. So people go as far as Cantilan which is more then 10 kilometers away, to buy cheaper and more supply of fish, which costs them about P50-60 transportation per travel.
3. Less Assured Employment and High Possibility of Accident
There is prevailing discontent among many job seekers in Bon-ot and Adlay, since most of those now working in the mining construction/operation come from other places like Davao, Cotabato, Cebu, Bukidnon, etc. Many jobs seekers in Bon-ot have spent a lot for their paper requirements needed for application to work, with no promise of work until now. Presently there are more or less 40 retrenched workers mostly carpenters, steel man and masons. Presence of big trucks and equipment pose the risk of accidents where people commute with singles motors in the roads made very slippery by the mining operations during rainy season or terribly dusty during the dry seasons.
Why the Issue an Area of Concern?
Being one of top six poorest provinces all over Philippines, Surigao del Sur composed of municipalities grouped into two districts. The first district includes the municipalities of Lianga, San Agustin, Marihatag, Cagwait, Bayabas, Tago, San Miguel, Tandag, Cortes, Lanuza, Carmen, Madrid, Cantilan, and Carascal. On the other hand, the second district is composed of municipalities of Barobo, Tagbina, Hinatuan, Bislig City, and Lingig. All of these municipalities except tagbina, San Miguel, Carmen and Madrid are located in a coastal area. People of these municipalities depends their daily living from the abundance of nature. Most of them are farmers and fishermen. Marine and land resources are primary life-source of the people.
Carrying the task of evangelical mission, the Diocese of Tandag under which all the municipalities mention above is covered by its pastoral care- continues the mission of Christ in serving the poor and the betterment of the common people. Giving so much value on the sacredness and the plan of God for His creation, the Diocese - headed by bishop Nereo P. Odchimar together with his pastors (Dicocesan Clergy),nuns, religious sectors, and lay collaborators- made a favorable step to prevent this God’s creation from the devastating effects of irresponsible mining industries. Faithful to the Catholic Tradition as it is stated in Dei Verbum 10, the Church in Tandag carry its task with the faithful to give an authentic interpretation of God’s Word. This authentic interpretation calls then for concrete actions addressing the issue on mining in the light of the Living Word from the Scriptures. Quoting from the Pastoral Letter issued by CBCP entitled “What is Happening to our Beautiful Land” this environmental advocacy of the Diocese finds it supports from two biblical texts: “Everything is permissible but not everything is beneficial” (1Cor 6:12) and “Do not defile the land where you live and where I dwell” (Num 35:34).
Issue’s Most Debated Factors and Components
From the story of creation (Gen 1: 26-31) God created the earth and filled it with plants and animals for man’s consumption. He gave us an abundant harvest of nature so that nobody would be hungry, everybody could have an equal share as they were created by Him equally. The Church believes the long-term sustainability that nature can offer than jobs for a limited number of years that mining industries can promise to the employees.
After its issuance of the pastoral letter concerning mining industries in the province, the Church of Tandag got conflict with pro-mining sectors as they came across tackling factors and components of the issue identified below:
1. Nature is given for the benefit of all
2. Very little regard for long-term development goals.
3. The right of indigenous Filipinos.
4. Alternatives- Agro-forestry ecotourism
5. Terrible effects to nature and community’s moral way of living.
The Mining Act of 1995 itself encourages the exploitation of our land by granting priority access rights to water and timber. The 25 year mining operation permitted in the contract of this act would leave a devastating effects on nature that would make people in the area suffer for a lifetime. People of this alike are the indigenous who formerly live in a harmonious life there in a mountain. Their right to Ancestral Domain is violated by mining industries.
On December 11, 2007, the Presbyterium of the Diocese of Tandag headed by Fr. Elpidio Pastera issued a letter of appeal to President Gloria Arroyo asking the troops of military to withdraw their successive offensive operation in the mountain which forced the 450 families in the mountain to evacuate. Later on, the diocese discovers through its apostolate on Social action that the area where this military operation took place is rich in metallic minerals like nickel and gold.
On the other hand the provincial governor’s family who owns the Clarence T. Pimentel Construction and Mining Corporation that is currently operating in the municipality of Carrascal would look at mining as a helpful industry to bring the province into progress. Accordingly, mining would attract investors; provide jobs, and increases the tax remittance of the province. Thus gains higher amount of financial subsidy from the government so as to provide public services like infrastructure, livelihood and ecotourism development. They would insist that even before there were mining and logging industry, people in the province were already poor. These pro-mining people would like to believe that these industries would give a new start to alleviate poverty in the province.

Diocesan Leadership and the Social Issue
Most Rev. Nereo P. Odchimar, DD, JCD, MBA, the bishop of Tandag issued a pastoral statement during the presbyteral meeting on June 10-12, 2002. With the same reason stated in the Pastoral Letter of CBCP entitled “What is happening to Our Beautiful Land”, upholds the sanctity of life, preventing the ecosystem, the life-source of the people in the province, from the extensive damage that mining may bring.
In strengthening this advocacy, the Diocese empowers the Social Action Center - headed by Sr. Lydia L. Lascano, ICM., the SAC director - to provide education and seminars to every parish regarding the Church’s stand against irresponsible mining. It organizes religious sectors and lay collaborators to help this process of propagating information effectively. An example of this is CAHAYAG ( a visayan term for light) stands for Carrascalanon Hiniusang Aksyon Alang sa Yutang Gilauman).

Statement of Dissent
Your advocacy against irresponsible mining is noble indeed. We, the members of Non-government Organization, would like to express our appreciation for your effort in upholding the sanctity of life. We could indeed deny the fact that mining which suppose to serve the good of the common people is administered by rich greed people who want to augment their own pocket no matter how it takes.
We would like to believe, however, that mining in itself gives benefits to the unemployed members in a community. Although it is true that our province is so much blessed with the abundance of land and marine resources, God would nevertheless respect individual freedom to choose their means of survival as long as it would not violate the law of nature. Not underestimating the fruits of the land and marine life, we would like to believe that our province has something more to boast itself especially when it come to its metallic minerals like gold, chromites and nickel.
Putting mining industry in our province would provide a venue and give opportunities to our skilled carpenters, masons, engineers and other ordinary laborers who are not favored with skills and interest in fishing and farming to boast their capacity for the progress of our province. We do believe that mining in itself is not evil. The evil only resides when one who runs or gives capital to mining industry would look after only to its own interest. Mining which suppose to serve the good of the common people is administered by greed people who want to augment their own pocket no matter how it takes. We trust that our Church under your leadership would do her best to change this wrong notion of service. If the church would insist to stop the industry just only because of this particular person, then she would eventually deprive many people to benefit that this industry may offer to them.
We understand that the church is not really against mining. It understands itself as servant of the betterment of the community. However, people who are into mining would inevitably look at Church as black and white movement. We would like to suggest that the Church has to do something for this. Instead of giving more importance on the propagation of information that purely focuses on the bad effects of this industry, the church must exert effort to educate people why it needs to tackle some critical issues regarding mining.
Claiming ourselves in a neutral position, we wish to propose that mining should be pursued in our province provided that it agrees and follows the conditions and rules set by the Church, the assembly of the majority. There should be a signed agreement between the people and the staff of mining pertaining to these rules and condition which would protect the interest of both later and former. Renewable contract every three years to assess the signed agreement may help to sustain a good relationship between the staff and the people. Failure to follow this condition every after three year of assessment must be subject for suspension of the mining operation. If this conditioned is followed, however, our fishermen and farmers may continue to share the fruit of nature to the community. The industry may even provide scholarship program to support the Government colleges that train students for fishery arts like fish culture and fish capture.


Strengths and Weaknesses
There are two visible strengths found in the Diocese. First is its proper channeling through the organizational chart. Second is the strengthened program for basic ecclesial communities. Within the Basic Ecclesial Community (BEC), there is a practice of love offering. The purpose of this love offering is to support somehow the programs and apostolate of the parishes and of the Diocese in general. The basic ecclesial community is also an effective instrument for the education of the believers regarding the Church’s new updates and newly implemented programs. Moreover, BEC has been a good venue for the spiritual growth of the believer and which form them also into a united community the mission of which is patterned to that of the Church particularly to the Church or Diocese of Tandag.
On the other hand, however, there are three main weaknesses of the Diocese which may threat its effective functioning. First is the matter of geographical location. The distances between parishes are apparently affecting the communication and the implementation of the Diocesan program for different apostolates. Secondly, the different orientations, point of views due to their different seminary backgrounds are seen as one problem to realize the vision and mission of the Diocese. The age gap of the priests between the old and the younger generation create conflicts and division which sometimes affects the Diocese to move into a straight direction. There are priests who are silent in the issue happening in their parishes just to maintain their attachment to the political leaders in that place who are involved in these issues. While other group of priests are in conflict with these leaders as they conform to what the Church believes to be right. Thirdly, being financially unstable, the Diocese found itself in difficulties to mobilize programs and activities in line with their apostolates. And the sad reality even is that those people who were involved in the issue that the Diocese is trying to address like mining are the same people who are willing to give big amount of donations to the Church.



The bishop’s motto “Duc in altum”, Latin for “Put out into the deep”, is culled from the biblical passage (Luke 5:4) wherein Christ instructed the apostles to go to sea once again after failing to catch fish the whole night. It echoes Christ’s call that entails a response in faith to a mission which to human perception may abound with uncertainties.
The upper left quadrant of the shield portrays the geographical location of the province of Surigao del Sur which comprises Tandag Diocese. It is situated in the eastern portion of the island of Mindanao facing the Pacific Ocean where the sun rises. The hills represent the mountainous terrain of the place and the color green, the verdant forests.
The lower left quadrant bears the monogram of the Blessed Virgin Mary of which the bishop is an ardent devotee. He was born in Bacuag, Surigao del Norte, the patron saint of which Our Lady of the Most Holy Rosary; the parish to which he was assigned upon his election is dedicated to Our Lady of the Sacred Heart; and the date of his Episcopal ordination falls on the feast of Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal.
The upper right quadrant symbolizes the competence and authority of the bishop in the field of canon.
The lower left quadrant portrays the pastoral concerns of the bishop. The slanting staff depicts the shepherd bending forward to lift even a wounded sheep. Literally, the net relates to Surigao del Sur as a coastal province where fishing forms one of the means of livelihood. Figuratively, however, just as the net catches different kinds of fish, the symbolism stands for the openness of the ministry to the diversity of people.
The shield is ensigned by the Dominican cross, a tribute to the University of Santo Tomas of Manila, where he obtained his Doctorate in Canon Law and where he was a professor at the time of his election.

DATA OF THE DIOCESE Diocese of Tandag

Diocese of Tandag
(Diocesis Tandagensis)
Suffragan of Cagayan de Oro
Created and Erected: June 16, 1978. Comprises the Civil Province of Surigao del Sul. Titular: San Nicolas de Tolenteno, September 10.
Most Reverend
Born: October 16, 1940. Appointed Bishop of Tandag: October 18, 2001.
Ordained Bishop: November 11, 2001.
Bishop’s Residence
Tandag, 8300 Surigao del Sur
Tel. (086) 211-3045
Fax: (086) 211-4102)

Bishop Emeritus
Born: December10, 1934 in Alimodian, Iloilo.
Ordained Priest: December 16, 1962. Appointed Titular Bishop of Giro and Auxiliary Bishop of Cagayan de Oro: January 2, 1976. Ordained Bishop: March 15, 1976. Appointed First Bishop of Tandag: September 16, 1978. Installed: November 7, 1978. Retired: October 18, 2001.
Redemtorist Community
St. Clemen’s Retreat House
P.O Box 21, Lapaz, 5000 Iloilo City
Tel. 329-1332


Diocesan Priest Out of Tandag:
Diocese ……………………7
Diocesan Priest on Leave….9
Spiritual Formation Year…...5
On Regency………………...8
Diocesan Division:
Educational Centers:
Educational Centers:
Colleges…………… ……….4
High Schools………...……..12
Elementary Schools………_
Total Enrolment……....9,390
Teaching Personnel:
Lay 332
Area…………...4, 552.2 km2



Diocesan Pastoral Center
Tandag, 8300 Surigao del Sur
Tel. (086) 211-3044
Tel. (086) 211-4102

Vical General: Msgr. Isidro H. Irizari
Chancellor: Fr. Jose Ricky F. Cortez
Oeconomus: Most Reverend Nereo P. Odchimar, DD
Asst. Oeconomus: Sr. Gloria Licayan, LGC
Judicial Vicar: Rev. Fr. Florio Falcon, JCL


Bishop: Most Rev. Nereo P. Odchimar, DD, JCD, MBA
Diocesan Consultors: Fr. Jaime Panares, Fr. Florio Falcon, Fr. Rafael Batolino, Fr. Isidro Irizari, Fr. Nestor Climaco, Fr. Francisco Olvis, Fr. Jose Ricky Cortez, Fr. Elpidio K. Pastera, Fr. Paul Bernard Cotejar

Christian Formation Director: Fr. Arturo Langit
Catechetics: Sr. Felipa Galeon, MSM
Family Life: Sr. Maura Taguines, MSM
Vocation Director: Fr. Isidro Irizari
Pontifical Mission Societies: Fr. Nestor Climaco
Liturgy: Fr. Roberto Deligero
Bible: Fr. James Panares
Campus Ministry: Sr. Mely Teneso, MSM


Chancellor: Fr. Jose Ricky Cortez
Diocesan Pastoral Center Coordinator: Sr. Jubelyn Estura, LGC
Social Action Director: Sr. Lydia L. Lascano, ICM
Catholic Scholl Superintendent: Fr. Florio Falcon, JCL
Tribal Filipinos: Fr. Roberto Deligero
Media: Fr. Jose Rickey Cortez
Legal Council: Atty. Jake Zafra Sr.



Vicar Forane: Fr. Rafael A. Batolino
CARRASCAL (F- 1914), 8318 Surigao del Sur
Titular: Our Lady of Mount Carmel, July 16
Parish Priest: Fr. Rafael A. Batolino
CANTILAN (1791), 8317 Surigao del Sur
Titular: Immaculate Conception, August 15
Acting Parish Priest: Fr. Pete Ubalde
Parochial Vicar: Fr. Reuben de los Reyes
PARANG (F2005), Cantilan , 8317 Surigao del Sur
Titular: San Pedro Apostol, June 29
Quasi-Parish Administrator: Fr. Frank Felter,MM
MADRID (F-1915), 8316 Surigao del Sur
Titular: St. Isidore, June
Parish Priest: Fr. Elpidio K. Pastera
LANUZA (F-1913), Surigao del Sur
Titular: St. Anthony de Padua, June 13
Parish Priest: Fr. Arturo Langit
CARMEN (1997), 8316 Surigao del Sur
Titular: St. Vincent Ferrer, Every lastFriday of May
Parish Priest: Fr. Danilo Garay

Vicar Forane: Fr. Paul Bernard Cotejar
TIGAO, CORTEZ, 8313 Surigao del Sur
Titular: St. Aloysius Gonzaga, June 22
Parish Priest; Rev. Glenn Melo
TANDAG (1622) 8300 Surigao del Sur
Titular: San Nicholas de Tolentino, Sept. 10
Rector: Msgr. Isidro A. Irizari, VG, PC
Parochial Vicar: Fr. Apolinar Orozco
Resident Priests: Fr. Ivan Novo, Fr. Carlos Bautista
TAGO (F-1913), 83O2 Surigao del Sur
Titular: La Purisima Conception. December 8
Parish Priest: Fr. Jose Rickey F. Cortez
GAMUT (F-2005), Tago, Surigao del Sur
Titular: (Quasy-Parish) Holy Rosary, October7
Moderator Team Ministry Fr. Paul Bernard Cotejar
Co-pastor Team Ministry: Fr. Nelson Espinola
SAN MIGUEL (F-1995), 8301 Surigao del Sur
Titular: San Miguel Arkangel,September 29
Parish Priest: Fr. Roberto Deligero
Parochial Vicar: Leonilo Bendoy
BAYABAS (F-2003), 8303 Surigao del Sur
Titular: St. Ignatius de Loyola, July 31
Parish Priest: Fr. Eric Rogel Laguesma

Vicar Forane: Fr. Francisco Olvis

ARAS-ASAN (F-1962), Cagwait, 8304 Surigao del Sur
Titular: San Antonio de Padua, June 13
Parish Priest: Fr. Francisco Olvis
MARIHATAG (F-1914) Surigao del Sur
Titular: Holy Child, August 6
Parish Priest: Fr. Gamaliel Joyo
SAN AGUSTIN (F-8305), Surigao del Sur
Titular: San Agustin, Aug.28
Parish Priest: Fr. Cezar Reyes
DIATAGON, LIANGA (F-1965), 8307 Surigao del Sur
Titular: St. John the Baptist, June 24
Parish Priest: Fr. Juanito Rosales
LIANGA (F-1879), 8307 Surigao del Sur
Titular: Holy Child, August 15
Parish Priest: Fr. Romelito Guillen
BAROBO (F-1975) Surigao del Sur
Titular: Mother of Mercy, July 27
Parish Priest: Fr. Felipe Advincula
Vicar Forane: Fr. Nestor Climaco

TAGBINA (F-11976), 8308 Surigao del Sur
Titular: Our Lady of Perpetual Help, June
Parish Priest: Fr. Teodomero Acero
HINATUAN (F-1908), 8310 Surigao del Sur
Titular: San Agustin, August 28
Parish Priest: Fr. Antonio Galela
BISLIG CITY (F-1642), 8311 Surigao del Sur
Titular: San Tomas de Villanueva, Sept. 22
Parish Priest: Fr. Nestor Climaco
MANGAGOY (F-1952), 8311 Surigao del Sur
Titular; San Vincent de Paul, July 19
Parish Priest: Fr. Florio Falcon
PAROCHIAL Vicars: Fr. Jerry Sacupayo, Fr. Glenn Infiesto, Fr. Erwin Rommel Torres
LINGIG (F-1937), 8312 Surigao del Sur
Titular: Holy Child, Aug.10
Parish Priest: Fr. Mario Aca-ac
FOREST DRIVE (2003), Bislig City, 8311 Surigao del Sur
Titular: St. Joseph the Worker May 1
Parish Priest: Fr. Allan Piel


Maryknoll Missionaries (MM)
Congregation of the Sisters of St. Paul of Charters (SPC)
Dominican Sisters of the Trinity (OP)
Dominican Sisters – Daughters of the Holy Rosary Pompie
Living the Gospel Community (LGC)
Missionary Benedictine Sisters of Tutzing (OSB)\
Missionary Sisters of the Immaculate Heart of Mary (ICM)
Order of Saint Claire Monastery (OSC)