By: Janice Hidalgo
LINGAYEN-Journalists students condemned the alleged cover up of blacksand mining activity in coastal villages here, saying that the Provincial officials should be made answerable for exploiting our natural minerals.
Student writers who have attended the College Editors Guild of the Philippines (CEGP) in Dagupan City this October 23 have learned that there is an obvious violation of the law when mining activity took place in the area and that the people are made to believe that there is development going-on when all that is happening is hauling of large amount of the minerals considered as black ,Anna Patricia Santos said during an interview.
It will be recalled that GovernorAmado T.Espino Jr. himself have said that there is no mining going-on in the village “Inaalis lang yung minerals para tumubo yung grass kasi dinede velop yung golf course doon when interviewed by this reporter when she made the blacksand TV DOCU a Documentary program aired over USatv. Pangasinan Gov. Amado Espino and other officials were sued on Jan. 16 for allegedly allowing black sand mining in Lingayen.
The governor and other officials were charged for allegedly allowing two Chinese firms—Alexandra Mining and Oil Ventures and Xypher Builders Inc.—to haul black sand from coastal villages.
CEGP’s Santos quoted Velasco as saying the removal of black sand is needed to allow grass to grow in a golf course being built as part of the ecotourism zone.
“When we asked him why the black sand is being sold, Velasco said it was payment to the company doing the extraction,” Santos said.
Czarina Claustro, CEGP secretariat member, said security guards prevented CEGP from entering the area where black sand is stockpiled.
Santos and Claustro, accompanied by reporters and a village councilor, were later allowed to enter the area.
Vicente Oliquino, Sabangan village councilor, said government vehicles barricaded the ecotourism site, but Velasco said the vehicles are just parked there.
The area is covered by a cease and desist order issued in January by the Environmental Management Bureau for lack of an environmental compliance certificate.
By: Janice Hidalgo