The Philippines: Officials Keep Eye on Tanjay Black Sand Mining

The Social Action Center of the Diocese of Dumaguete is closely coordinating with authorities, government offices, the private sector and other stakeholders to stop the reported black sand mining in Tanjay City, Negros Oriental.

The move is in accordance with the common stand of the four dioceses of Negros Island, including Siquijor province, opposing all forms of mining, according to Fr. Burton Villarmente, director of the Social Action Center of the Diocese of Dumaguete.

Villarmente said that while it is being widely publicized by the local government of Tanjay City as a dredging project, he believes that this is just a cover-up of a more complex operation of mining for black sand or magnetite.

Fr. Villarmente on Thursday disclosed that he visited the area in Poblacion Barangay 4 recently to verify reports of operations by the contractor despite a cease-and-desist order issued by Governor Roel Degamo in the absence of a dredging permit.

The contractor, Sino-Italy Construction Philippines, Inc., had earlier claimed of having obtained the necessary requirements from government agencies such as the Mines and Geo-Sciences Bureau (MGB) but it has yet to acquire a dredging permit from Capitol through the Provincial Mining Regulatory Board (PMRB).

According to Fr. Villarmente, during his visit there, he spoke to some residents in the coastal barangay, particularly in the Tambacan area, the site where the contractor has erected its staging area, during which they raised their observations and concerns with him.

Press Release, January 24, 2014

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