by jun asuncion
In keeping with our task to focus on unresolved issues concerning our town Bulan, I gathered here some news articles related with the margaja mining along the coasts of Bulan and in other Sorsogon towns. These are not the latest news, but still maybe some of you haven’t read these yet. The purpose is to help spread the news so that more and more people become aware of what’s going on around them.
We ask the people who know more to help update Bulan Observer with the newest developments in connection with these controversial mining operations. It is interesting to observe how the law takes into effect only when there are “misunderstandings” among our politicians. Suddenly somebody begins to work properly, accuses some people but nobody wants to accept responsibility, as each one of them is playing safe and clean, accusations after accusations. Hence, it is a Ping-Pong match among our public servants which, although a garbage in itself, is worth watching for our environment is at stake here.
-DENR pushed to probe illegal black sand mining in Sorsogon
November 19, 2008 3:44 pm by pna
By Danny O. Calleja
SORSOGON CITY, Nov. 19 – The provincial legislative board of Sorsogon has asked the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) to conduct investigations on the massive illegal extraction of magnetic sand from the coastlines of the province to determine who are responsible for it amidst nagging exchanges of accusations among local politicians.
“We are fed up by the exchanges of accusations over responsibilities involving this multi-million peso illegal activity among local political leaders so that the DENR should once and for all put an end to these by way of a thorough investigation to find out who really are to be made answerable,” Vice Governor Renato Laurinaria said on Wednesday.
Sorsogon second district Rep. Jose Solis has condemned the wide-scale magnetic sand quarrying along the coastlines of several barangays of at least four municipalities of the province and instigated a legislative inquiry by the House committee on environment and natural resources headed by Rep. Ignacio Arroyo.
Massive operations of magnetic sand quarrying have been reported in about 10 barangays covered by the municipalities of Sta. Magdalena, Bulan, Matnog and Magallanes, all coastal towns along the coastlines of Ticao Pass, San Bernardino Straits and the Pacific Ocean.
Provincial administrator Manuel Fortes said complaints against these illegal activities have reached his office and he tossed it up to the DENR being the proper forum for it.
“We in the provincial board are not in a position to resolve the issue but the DENR,” he said.
Laurinaria stressed that quarrying and extraction of coastal resources particularly within areas immediately within the coastlines are prohibited.
These areas belong to the prohibited zones for these activities so that it should not be given permit by the provincial government, he added. (PNA)
– Solon wants magnetic sand mining in Sorsogon stopped
November 17, 2008 6:44 pm by pna
SORSOGON CITY, Nov. 17 – Rep. Jose Solis (KAMPI-2nd District, Sorsogon) said here Monday he is initiating moves to stop the widespread quarrying and transporting of magnetic sand from several coastal villages of at least three towns of the province.
“These activities are destructive to the coastal resources and expose the lives and properties of thousands of beachfront dwellers to extreme danger during severe weather incidents,” Solis said.
Massive quarrying and extraction of magnetic sand that is being transported in huge volumes by giant cargo vessels to unknown destinations started in late 2006 under a permit granted by the provincial government of Sorsogon to a concessionaire said to be a business partner of a former provincial official.
These activities have been going on in several villages within the coastal towns of Bulan, Magallanes and Sta. Magdalena.
Solis said he has brought the matter to the House Committee on Environment and Natural Resources headed by Rep. Ignacio T. Arroyo for an inquiry to determine legislative measures towards putting an end to the destructive form of coastal resource usage.
The quarrying operations have already extracted a huge volume of magnetic sand from at least 10 kilometers of shoreline in the three municipalities and this is still going on even as several sectors have already expressed apprehension over its bad effects to the natural resources, Solis said.
The Magallanes town council headed by Vice Mayor Tito Ragrario has passed a resolution asking appropriate actions from the Provincial Environment and Natural Resources Office (PENRO) but there is no action yet as of late, Solis said.
Mayor Arsenio Arambulo said the municipal government has no authority over quarrying activities even as it operations are taking place within areas covered by the municipality. “It is a responsibility of the provincial government that is mandated through the PENRO to supervise and regulate it then collect fees from its operator,” the mayor said.
In Bulan, Mayor Helen Rose de Castro shared Arambulo’s position. “Quarrying activities are beyond the scope of the local government unit (LGU) and compliance by its operators to requirements necessary to obtain permits is a look-out of the provincial government,” she said.
De Castro said the operator of the magnetic sand quarrying activities within at least five barangays of her municipality was given permits by the provincial government in late 2006 and renewed last August.
Sta. Magdalena town Mayor Amadeo Gallanosa said his LGU is helpless against the quarrying operations within four coastal villages along the coastline of Pacific Ocean within the municipality.
The operations cover over five kilometers from where hundreds of thousands of tons of magnetic sand locally called “margaja” have already been extracted and transported outside of the locality, Gallanosa said.
Solis said the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) should find means to stop such operations for the sake of environmental protection.
“By all means, these activities should be stopped given its destructive effects to the villagers affected and the natural resources,” he stressed.
Solis said he has requested the provincial office of the Philippine National Police (PNP) to initiate actions against these activities such as establishing checkpoints to prevent the transport of magnetic sand. (PNA)
-POSITION PAPER OF THE MUNICIPAL GOVERNMENT OF BULAN
Note: from PIO-Bulan to Jun Asuncion
Hereunder is a copy of the Position Paper of the Municipal Government of Bulan on the issues you raised regarding Margaja mining in Bulan.
November 8, 2008
Honorable Iggy T. Arroyo
The Committee Chairman
The Honorable Committee Members
Committee on Natural Resources
House of Representatives
POSITION PAPER OF THE MUNICIPAL GOVERNMENT OF BULAN, SORSOGON ON HOUSE RESOLUTION NO. 177, ” RESOLUTION DIRECTING THE COMMITTEE ON NATURAL RESOURCES TO CONDUCT AN INVESTIGATION, IN AID OF LEGISLATION, INTO THE ILLEGAL EXTRACTION/QUARRYING/MINING OF MAGNETIC SAND IN THE PROVINCE OF SORSOGON PARTICULARLY IN THE MUNICIPALITIES OF SANTA MAGDALENA AND BULAN, SORSOGON”.
Section 138, Chapter 2, Book II of RA 7160 or the Local Government Code of 1991 states, ” xxx . The permit to extract sand, gravel and other quarry resources shall be issued exclusively by the provincial governor, pursuant to the ordinance of the sangguniang panlalawigan…”
We respectfully submit to the Honorable Committee that the issue on the granting of approval and permits to prospectors of and operators on quarry resources is beyond the jurisdiction of the municipal government.
What the municipal government does, upon application by the quarry operation applicant, as part of the application procedure, is to issue a certificate of endorsement that it interposes no objection prior to the securing of the necessary permits and license from the concerned DENR agencies and the provincial government.
It is up to the concerned DENR agencies and the provincial government to judiciously decide whether the necessary requirements have been complied with. Given their technical expertise, which is beyond the scope of this local government, the former can very well determine and decide on the granting of permits on these resources.
As far as the Municipal Government is concerned, we were informed that there was a permittee of magnetite sand quarrying in our locality, first in late 2006, and then the permit was renewed in August of 2008.
On the matter of taxation, it will be up to the provincial government to remit the share to our municipal government and to the concerned barangays where the quarrying is taking place, for the utilization of our local resource.
As to the matter of operation, while it is within our territorial jurisdiction, we are of the presumption that the supervision on compliance to standards set forth by law rests with the agencies concerned who have issued the permit to such an activity.
(Sgd.) HELEN C. DE CASTRO
– Or visit Nonong Guyala’s own investigation Bulan’s Blood Sand in Sorsogonnews.