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Anti-mining Pinoy Catholic priest wins global environment award

An official of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) has won a prestigious international award — the Goldman Prize —  for being a vocal critic of mining, especially in Mindoro.   According to a report by the Union of Catholic Asian News (UCAN), Fr. Edu Gariguez, executive secretary of the CBCP's National Secretariat for Social Action, won the Asia regional award, which carries a $150,000 (P6.420 million) cash prize.   Gariguez and the other regional winners will receive their awards in San Francisco later this month. UCAN said Gariguez dedicated his award to the Mangyans of Mindoro, whom, he said, inspired him.   “For them, nature is likened to a womb that sustains us with life. I come to understand that what is at stake in the campaign is the survival of the earth ecology, of which we are merely a part,” he said.   Gariguez said mining operations should put in place measures to safeguard the environment, protect indigenous communities rights’, and ensure the fair distribution of economic benefits. The Goldman Environmental Prize website said the prize was established by Richard Goldman and his wife Rhoda in 1989, due to their "lifelong commitment to environmental protection, in order to recognize ordinary individuals working at the grassroots level who protect and enhance our environment."    "Grassroots environmental heroes too often go unrecognized. Yet their efforts to protect the world’s natural resources are increasingly critical to the well-being of the planet we all share. Thus, in 1989 San Francisco civic leaders and philanthropists Richard N. Goldman (1920-2010) and his wife, Rhoda H. Goldman (1924-1996) created the Goldman Environmental Prize," it said.   The winners are announced in April to coincide with Earth Day.   Prize recipients will participate in a 10-day tour of San Francisco and Washington D.C., highlighted by award ceremonies, news conferences, media briefings and meetings with political and environmental leaders. - VVP/HS, GMA News