The Philippines: Crisis Over “Black Sand Mining” Continues

Chief Supt. Danilo Constantino, the regional director of the Philippine National Police (PNP) in Region 7, has cautioned police personnel against the use of unnecessary force while keeping the peace at the controversial “black sand mining” issue in Tanjay City.

In a telephone interview, Chief Supt. Constantino admitted that he is not quite familiar with the problem in Tanjay City but nevertheless, he has given strict orders to the provincial police director of Negros Oriental to exercise maximum tolerance when responding to requests for police assistance.

He, however, said that he is being updated on the situation involving an ongoing mass protest against the purported black sand mining operation at Sitio Tambacan, Barangay 4 in Tanjay City. The protesters, who entered their second week of mass action Thursday, continue to stand their ground in barricading the road leading to the project site of Sino-Italy Philippines, Inc., the contractor tasked to dredge the Tanjay River to avoid future flooding.

Early on, the local government unit of Tanjay City, headed by Mayor Lawrence Teves, insisted that the memorandum of understanding entered into by the LGU and Sino-Italy was for a multi-million pesos dredging project of the Tanjay River. Since the LGU does not have the funds to pay for the project, the contractor is instead allowed to have in their possession minerals, like black sand, derived from materials dredged from the river.

But residents and other anti-mining quarters are opposing the project saying it is black sand mining in the guise of dredging and are now clamoring for the contractor to remove its plant from the project site.

Press Release, February 20, 2014

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