Ilocos folks fear of devastation as magnetite mining continues to operate

By DELIA BAGNI
www.nordis.net

CAOAYAN, ILOCOS SUR — Carapacadan residents here fear another typhoon devastation this year due to the ongoing magnetite mining operations in their coastal areas.

ONSLAUGHT. Residents of Caparacadan, Caoayan, Ilocos Sur grow wary everyday as heavy equipment of the Taiwanese-owned mining company scoop their seashore for magnetite fearing its effects to their lives and future. Photo by Aldwin Quitasol
According to Ruben R.Quino, coordinator of the Integral Youth Ministry (IYM) in Ilocos and a resident of Carapacadan, they are praying that no typhoon will hit their barangay this year because they fear the environment destruction done by the ongoing magnetite mining operation can trigger a disaster beyond their control.

He narrated that during Typhoon Feria in 2010, their barangay was devastated. The water reached their houses until knee high. At that time, magnetite mining was not yet operating in their barangay. He lamented that another strong typhoon will surely wash out their barangay because the sea waters are already near the residential area.

He added that people used to walk 50 meters away from the hill before they reach the bay waters but now they do not have to walk that far.

Quino said that the residents were not properly informed about the entry and operation of the magnetite mining, not even a public consultation was held.

They were shocked one day when the equipments (backhoe, loaders, dump trucks) arrived in their coast without their knowledge and started operating.

He added that they brought in the mining equipments through an adjoining barangay because the road was much wider.

Jocelyn Benzon, resident, added that in the first week of August 2012, the equipments were not yet there but they had started piling up the sand to be segregated. By October, the equipments were all there and in full operation.

Quino pointed out that the residents are no longer hoping for support from their Barangay Chairman Yolanda Millare because they have asked her help several times and until now the problem is still there.

But there, however, is help from other barangays, outsiders, non-government organizations (NGO’s) and the church that has lifted their hopes, Quino pointed out.

The community initiated a signature campaign in every barangay and held an assembly showing their numbers and strong opposition to the magnetite mining activities but until now there has been no action from Millare.

Quino stated that during their signature campaign, one of the members had a dialogue with Ilocos Sur Mayor Germy Goulart about their opposition to the black sand mining. Goulart justified the mining operations by reasoning that it will turn into a white sand beach.

The people said that Carapacadan is different from other beaches because Carapacadan is a black sand beach and not a white sand beach.

Quino and his fellows at EYM and the residents are calling on the town council to act urgently in favor of the community because the residents put them in their present positions to care for the community.

“Agpaspasalamat kami kadagiti tumultulong kenyami nga nu tutuosin ket awan kasukat na. Nu haan tau nga agkuti karkaro nga madaksan tayo, adu nga talaga ti job opportunities nga ited ti magnetite mining ngem panunuten tayu ada trabaho tayu itatta ngem anya ngay ti kasasa-ad tayu nu malpasen. Nakarkarunto ti kasasa-ad tayo itan.” (we thank all those who are helping us, thinking that they are not asking for anything in return. Without acting on this matter, the result will be more destructive, magnetite mining gives us job oppurtunities but after the work is done, our life will be more miserable than now.) # nordis.net

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