By VINCE BORNEO
LINGAYEN, Pangasinan — Having seen for himself the destructive foreshore and coastal mining operations in this town, Bayan Muna Rep. Teddy Casiño is calling on the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) to junk some 160 applications for magnetite (black sand) mining in the Lingayen Gulf.The progressive solon was in Lingayen for an ocular inspection of allegedly illegal magnetite mining operations in the area, including a ship carrying black sand that was grounded along the shore last week. He met with local officials and residents who are seeking help in opposing the entry of magnetite mining operations in this coastal town.
“I support the call of the Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (Pamalakaya), the local government officials and the people of Pangasinan, La Union, Ilocos Sur and Ilocos Norte provinces who are opposed to magnetite mining.
Onshore and offshore mining for magnetite under the current policy regime will not redound to the local people and even the national government in terms of revenue and long-term utilization of this natural resource,” Casiño said.
Magnetite is an iron oxide and is used in the production of steel, in high-density concrete, in photocopier toner, and as high-temperature coating in some steam boilers.
“At least 15 magnetite mining applications are pending before the Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB) in La Union province, 57 in Ilocos Sur, and 86 in Ilocos Norte. While there are no pending applications in Pangasinan, residents are not in favor of any magnetite mining project since it would destroy coastlines, diminish fish catch and will bring untold disasters when natural calamities strike,” Casiño said.
“We shall see how Congress can help local governments in resisting the influx of projects that will extract our finite resources that will only benefit foreign firms instead of the Filipino people. There is a major disconnect between eco-tourism projects and extraction of black sand in Pangasinan and other parts of the country. We shall file the appropriate measure in the House soonest,” Casiño added.
Casiño is a leading advocate and main author of House Bill 4315 – the Peoples Mining Bill – that aims to re-orient the mining industry by repealing the Mining Act of 1995 (RA 7942), respecting local governments and local communities who shall refuse mining projects in their areas, and putting in more stringent environment and social acceptability standards and penalties for mining projects for areas that shall be opened to mining. # nordis.net