Local fishermen with Kabalikat Charity and local Jaycees aboard wooden bancas approach the bulk carrier ‘Peace Angel’ to stop its crew from loading illegally mined iron ore in Paracale, Camarines Norte. – Photo courtesy of RIO PALIZA
DAET, CamNorte: A Chinese vessel registered in Hong Kong was ordered by the local government of Paracale, Camarines Norte and the Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB) to hold its position within Philippine territorial waters after local fishermen and members of civic organizations stopped its crew from attempting to load iron ore mined from some of the mining facilities there.
The Chinese bulk carrier Peace Angel was held in abeyance at the shores of Pulangdaga in Paracale, Camarines Norte after a group of fishermen, accompanied by Kabalikat Charity, Jaycees Paracale and members of Save Pulang Daga Movement (SPDM), responded to a tip by an unknown employee of Uni-Dragon Mining and Baotong Mining companies that a loading operation would be carried out at around seven o’clock in the morning of June 5, Tuesday.
Rio Paliza, president of the local Jaycees and one of the prime movers behind SPDM, which is a civic group organized to oppose illegal mining being perpetrated by Chinese mining companies in Paracale, confirmed that they boarded two motorized boats with representatives from the LGU to inspect the vessel and stop it from loading 50,000 metric tons of iron ore which had been declared by the MGB last May 16 as confiscated minerals after mine tailings were found to have caused massive environmental devastation in the coastal village of Pulangdaga.
Paliza said they enlisted the cooperation of Mayor Romeo Moreno of Paracale who immediately came to the site to speak with the crew of Peace Angel and serve the seizure order issued by the MGB in Legazpi City.
Although he was not allowed by the crew to board the ship, Moreno assisted representatives from the Coast Guard and the Bureau of Customs in inspecting the vessel, which was later pronounced by the Bureau of Customs as a legally registered carrier whose crew was unwittingly and innocently tasked to load the confiscated minerals.
Customs declared in an ensuing closed door meeting at the Office of the Mayor of Paracale with representatives from LGU, SPDM, local fishers and Coast Guard that the vessel and its crew do not have the proper permit to load the iron ore, Paliza said.
Recent development received by Bicol Mail from SPPM revealed that the MGB has issued a cease and desist order against the mining operations being done in Paracale by Uni-dragon and Baotong Mining companies.
Meanwhile, the bulk carrier Peace Angel remains anchored with its crew, halting its loading of the confiscated iron ore, until proper permits are obtained by its representatives who were not named for the meantime. – Bicol Mail
Members of Kabalikat and Coast Guard watch over the bulk carrier ‘Peace Angel’ which has been ordered not to move until MGB representatives come to inspect its papers. The crew allegedly hauled confiscated iron ore from Paracale, Camarines Norte for transport to China. - Photo courtesy of RIO PALIZA