Priest leads motorcade vs black sand mining in Leyte town
TACLOBAN CITY — The parish priest of MacArthur town in Leyte province led a motorcade on Monday to urge the government to stop the mining operations in their municipality.
Fr. Amadeo Alvero, parish priest of the St. Isidore Parish of MacArthur town, said mining of black sand could lead to the destruction of the environment and may cause severe flooding.
Alvero said Archbishop John Du of the Palo Archdiocese gave him the green light to oppose the mining activities in their place.
“The archbishop, during his visit to MacArthur, was aware that there is a mining activity there and saw personally its bad effects. He asked me to oppose such activity,” Alvero said in a press conference on Monday.
The Department of Environment’s Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB) has granted MacArthur Iron Project Corp. (MIPC) mining claims of 2,000 hectares last September. The 2,000 mining claims cover the towns of MacArthur, Javier and Abuyog.
In MacArthur, MIPC has mining claims of around 500 hectares located in Barangay Maya.
Januar Ong, community relation manager of the MIPC, said their company is not engaging in commercial operations in the place.
“What we have right now is test run and debugging activity of our equipment. We have not started or conducted any mining activity or actual commercial operations,” he said.
The company also asserted that they have all the necessary permits from concerned government agencies.
Ong said people don’t have to fear since a creek located near the mining site has been dredged by the company to ensure that the water won’t overflow.
Also, they have planted bamboos along the creek as part of their river bank stabilization program.
Ong, however, could not say when they could actually conduct their business operation except to say that China is one of their markets.
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