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Black sand mine threat seen alive in 3-km wall

/ 01:10 AM February 14, 2015

The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) is investigating a 3-kilometer wall stretching through three villages in the town of Lingayen in Pangasinan province which a resident said would encourage the return of black sand mining if not removed.

Environment Secretary Ramon Paje, reacting to a letter sent to him by Lingayen resident Rolando Rea, said he has referred the matter to Leo Jasareno, head of the Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB) of the DENR.

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Jasareno, in an e-mail message, said the regional office of the DENR had deployed an investigating team on Feb. 12.

Rea, a retired government employee, said in a statement sent to the Inquirer that the wall serves as protection for illegal black sand mining in the area.

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“Black sand mining has happened and may continue to happen until they tear down this wall,” said Rea in his letter.

Rea, one of those who filed a complaint for graft against Pangasinan Gov. Amado Espino over the black sand mining issue, said residents of three villages—Estanza, Sabangan and Maimpuec—had been deprived of their main livelihood, fishing, because the wall, guarded by armed men, kept them out of the sea.

“This is also personal for me,” Rea said in his statement.

He said the DENR has not issued any permit for black sand mining in Lingayen. Thus, he said, “all structures related to it, including the wall, should be dismantled.”

“If the DENR won’t remove the structures, we will be compelled to file a case to pave the way for the demolition of the illegal structures,” he added.

In an earlier two-page letter to Paje, Rea said the six-foot wall was erected in 2012 by the provincial government.

The complaint against black sand mining has resulted in the dismissal of provincial administrator Rafael Baraan and Alvin Bigay, head of the Provincial Housing Urban Development Council Office, for grave misconduct.

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Interior Undersecretary Austere Panadero implemented the Ombudsman’s dismissal order on Nov. 28. Dona Z. Pazzibugan

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TAGS: Amado Espino, black sand mining, DENR, Department of Environment and Natural Resources, enviroment, Leo Jasareno, Lingayen, Pangasinan, Ramon Paje
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