Quantcast
Latest Stories

Black sand mining persists in Cagayan

Excavators even destroy tombs, scatter skeletons in cemetery


HEAVY equipment belonging to Hua Xia Mining and Trading Corp. dig up black sand from the front lawns of houses in Calayan village in Gonzaga town in this file photo taken in October last year. Such operations have continued until today, according to antimining advocates, despite a series of raids by government authorities and petitions from opposing groups. Melvin Gascon/Inquirer Northern Luzon

BAYOMBONG, Nueva Vizcaya—Environmental advocates in Cagayan province on Sunday lamented the apparent helplessness of the government in stopping what they described as illegal black sand mining operations by foreign companies, mostly Chinese, in the province’s northern coastal areas.

Esperlita Garcia, board director of the Federation of Environmental Advocates of Cagayan (Feac), said antimining advocates there were appalled by how the Chinese have continued dodging stoppage orders from the Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB) and a recent crackdown launched by the National Bureau of Investigation.

“Their activities stopped only for a while [when the NBI] arrested a number of Chinese personnel. But  after only a few weeks, they resumed [operations]. That day in late August when authorities seized some of their heavy equipment, activities resumed that very same night,” Garcia said.

In Gonzaga town, Garcia said operations continued in Cabanbanan  Norte, Casitan and Calayan villages, with heavy equipment now digging up even front yards of residents’ houses in exchange for little compensation.

Even sections of the public cemetery in Casitan were not spared, she said, with excavators destroying tombs and scatter skeletons.

“It was  stopped only when a backhoe fell into a huge pit that a mining company was digging, killing the operator and his assistant. But they just moved elsewhere,” said Garcia, a Gonzaga native.

Feac sources said black sand mining had gone unabated in Aparri and Buguey towns, where the NBI conducted a series of raids against mining operations that are run by undocumented Chinese.

“It is even worse here because the black sand that is dug up from the mouth of the Cagayan River is directly loaded onto barges and cargo vessels and are immediately smuggled out of the country,” said the source, who asked not to be named for fear of his safety.

Garcia expressed dismay that despite the breakthroughs that the anti-black sand mining task force achieved in recent months and the series of letters and petitions they had sent to Malacañang, Chinese companies have managed to continue with their operations.

“We are surprised by the tremendous power that these foreign mining companies wield in our country. They seem to be above the law,”  Garcia said.

But Mario Ancheta, regional director of the MGB in Cagayan Valley, clarified that the reported ongoing black sand extraction activities were legitimate operations.

“Only extraction within the 200-meter zone [from the coastline] is prohibited. As for Aparri and Lal-lo [towns], they have this existing [memorandum of agreement] for the dredging of the Cagayan River,” he said.

Gonzaga Mayor Carlito Pentecostes Jr. confirmed that operations continued in his town, but denied that these violated environmental laws.

“I do not have the authority to stop them because they have been issued permits. But we [in the local government] are doing our best to make sure they comply with the laws and that they do not cause too much environmental damage,” Pentecostes said.

He dismissed reports that black sand extraction extended up to the Casitan public cemetery.

“It was about to be mined but the company backed off due to a Chinese belief about the curse that the desecration of the dead brings to their business,” he said.

Buguey Mayor Lloyd Antiporda also denied that illegal black sand mining continued in his town.

“We are currently preparing for the dredging of the [Buguey lagoon] which may have been mistaken as part of mining operations,” he said.

The Inquirer tried to reach Aparri Mayor Ismael Tumaru but he did not respond to text messages sent to his mobile phone on Sunday.  Melvin Gascon, Inquirer Northern Luzon


Follow Us

Follow us on Facebook Follow on Twitter Follow on Twitter


Recent Stories:

Complete stories on our Digital Edition newsstand for tablets, netbooks and mobile phones; 14-issue free trial. About to step out? Get breaking alerts on your mobile.phone. Text ON INQ BREAKING to 4467, for Globe, Smart and Sun subscribers in the Philippines.

Tags: Black sand , Federation of Environmental Advocates of Cagayan , Mines and Geosciences Bureau , Mining , News , Regions




Copyright © 2014, .
To subscribe to the Philippine Daily Inquirer newspaper in the Philippines, call +63 2 896-6000 for Metro Manila and Metro Cebu or email your subscription request here.
Factual errors? Contact the Philippine Daily Inquirer's day desk. Believe this article violates journalistic ethics? Contact the Inquirer's Reader's Advocate. Or write The Readers' Advocate:
c/o Philippine Daily Inquirer Chino Roces Avenue corner Yague and Mascardo Streets, Makati City, Metro Manila, Philippines Or fax nos. +63 2 8974793 to 94
Advertisement
  1. Fr. Suarez says last Mass on Easter before returning donated land to San Miguel
  2. Chinese lawyers say they were tortured by police
  3. Hair salon’s Kim Jong Un poster riles embassy
  4. Why college grads end up in the PNP
  5. I’ll follow my conscience on Estrada, says JV Ejercito
  6. Town, DENR play tug-of-war over crocodile
  7. Five men from Cavite found dead in jeep in Batangas
  8. Suspect in Vhong Navarro mauling tries to leave PH
  9. Siquijor ‘healer’: For every cure, there’s a plant
  10. Motorcycle race ends in shooting; 1 killed, 6 hurt
  1. Suspect in Vhong Navarro mauling tries to leave PH
  2. Massage attendant arrested on rape complaint filed by Japanese tourist
  3. ‘Tell no one’ Makati bettor won P250M lotto
  4. MH370 co-pilot made mid-flight phone call – report
  5. Netizens cry: 6/55 Lotto was rigged
  6. ‘Wife of Jesus’ theory papyrus not fake – Harvard study
  7. North Korea uses flamethrower to execute official
  8. ‘King’ Yabut and I: Driver bares Makati dad ‘abuses’
  9. Gay college instructor arrested for oral sex with student
  10. It was difficult having Japanese blood
  1. KL confirms Malaysian Airlines Flight MH370 ended in Indian Ocean
  2. MRT passengers pass the hat for 6-year-old Ashley
  3. Pork payoffs to newscasters Erwin Tulfo, Del Prado, others bared
  4. UP back on top as ‘average’ student aces bar
  5. Rookie, lady cops lauded for quick response to MOA heist
  6. Model Helena Belmonte wished ‘to slash her wrist and hope to die’
  7. Malaysia averts another air tragedy; pilot lands troubled plane safely
  8. Revilla says he was joking; Lacson stands by his story
  9. Revilla ‘consulted’ Lacson on how he evaded arrest
  10. Police rule out foul play in Helena Belmonte’s death as boyfriend is ‘traumatized’
Advertisement

News

  • Luzon grid power reserve ‘enough’ for Holy Week
  • Pimentel proposes incentives for companies that will hire ex-convicts
  • State seeks guilty verdict for Abalos
  • SBMA execs, 2 others face graft raps
  • Pangasinan beachgoers warned vs jellyfish
  • Sports

  • My ideal weight is 140, declares Pacquiao
  • Freddie Roach: I’m satisfied; Manny Pacquiao did well
  • New-look Azkals tie Qatari side
  • San Miguel Beermen eye No. 2 slot, battle Air21 Express
  • Filipinos yield to Iraqis anew Asian club volley
  • Lifestyle

  • Celebrate Easter Sunday at Buddha-Bar Manila
  • Moriones feast: A slow, steady transformation
  • Weaving ‘palaspas’ a tradition kept alive in Tayabas City
  • Finalists announced for best translated books
  • Summer treat for your aspiring astronomers
  • Entertainment

  • Miley Cyrus hospitalized, cancels US concert
  • Otaku Summer Jam 2014: Summer’s hottest J-rock/Cosplay event
  • 2NE1 returns to Manila with “All Or Nothing” Tour
  • Gary Valenciano just keeps moving
  • Noisy celeb spews venom, backs off when confronted
  • Business

  • Longer TRO sought on rate hike
  • Make a stylish statement with the all-new Yaris
  • Hearing set in Olarte case
  • BOC sues steel importers
  • BIR continues to miss collection target
  • Technology

  • Tech company: change passwords or suffer ‘Heartbleed’
  • Filling the digital talent gap
  • SSS to shut down website for Holy Week
  • Another reason to quit social media this Holy Week: your safety
  • Philippines may watch ‘blood moon’ online
  • Opinion

  • We may never know
  • Couple of things
  • Mommy D’s magic
  • Stop bizarre and bloody Good Friday rituals
  • Holy Week taboos
  • Global Nation

  • No travel restrictions to Middle East amid MERS-CoV scare
  • Measures set against entry of MERS-CoV
  • Japan backs PH in case before UN
  • Las Vegas union starts pickets over wages, benefits
  • Fil-Am Daly City councilor has eye on Superior Court seat
  • Marketplace
    Advertisement