Thursday, 19 July 2012

Scuffle over mining in Camarines Norte turning violent

Local fishermen with Kabalikat Charity and local Jaycees aboard wooden bancas approach the bulk carrier MV Peace Angel to stop its crew from loading illegally mined iron ore in Paracale, Camarines Norte. – Photo courtesy of RIO PALIZA

DAET, CamNorte: The continuing conflict over illegal mining in this province has gone beyond war of words when a small-scale mining financier was shot to death recently in sitio Matahimik, barangay Palanas, Paracale town where the MGB-DENR had implemented a mining ban since early this year.

CamNorte police director, Senior Supt Jose Lipa Capinpin identified the victim as Sammy Amargo, a resident of sitio Maligaya, Palanas and a known financier of small-scale mining in this locality.

According to Capinpin, initial police investigation revealed that Amargo was shot by riding-in-tandem suspects at about 9.30pm on Wednesday, July 10, and was declared dead on arrival at a local hospital.

In mid-June this year, Amargo exposed to a TV network and local radio that after MGB-DENR declared a mining ban, some top-brass of the Philippine National Police (PNP) and the provincial government had received shares in the form unprocessed gold nuggets out of clandestine small-scale mining operations in barangay Palanas.

Last month, following the said expose', the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) and the Camp Crame Police Headquarters ordered the relief of the Police director in CamNorte, and two other ranking police officers of the Provincial Police Office.

The former provincial police director was cited for failure to implement a ”cease and desist order” on small-scale mining in sitio Maligaya, barangay Palanas in Paracale town.

Newly installed, Police director Capinpin earlier confirmed that his directive, under the deputization of MGB-DENR, is to stop the pit mining operations in sitio Maligaya, Palanas, as well as restraining the mining operation of Bao-Tong Mining Corp and Uni-Dragon Mining and Development Corp, which are now the subject of a probe by DILG, DENR and the Customs Bureau.
Meanwhile in Legaspi City, DILG, Bicol director Blandino Maceda took exception to reports in national dailies that CamNorte Gov Edgardo A Tallado is being “investigated” by the DILG on the complaints lodged by Rio G Paliza, president of the Paracale junior chapter of the Philippine Jaycees.

Maceda said the DILG and joint agencies are conducting on “inquiry” on the complaints of Paliza and concerned groups in Paracale on the eco-degradation of Pulandaga coastline, caused by the large-scale mining of magnetic sand by large-scale Chinese mining firms wherein the governor is being implicated.

Maceda added they are gathering data that shall be forwarded soon to DILG Sec Jesse Robredo as directed.

Meanwhile, Bureau of Customs, Bicol district Collector (OIC) Divina Garrido has revealed that bulk-carrier vessel MV Peace Angel, a Chinese vessel from Hong Kong has finally left the coastline of Pulandaga, Paracale after the MGB-DENR implemented a ”cease and desist order” on the loading of some 55,000 metric-tons of magnetic sand thought to be bound for China.

The magnetic-sand illegally extracted by at least three Chinese mining firm in Pulangdaga, Paracale is one of the subjects of inquiry being conducted by the DILG, Garrido said. – Vox Bicol

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