Authorities probe ‘illegal mining’ in Aguilar

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Wednesday, June 4, 2014


THE Provincial Environment and Natural Resources and the regional office of the Bureau of Mines and Geo-Sciences (BGMS) are now investigating the reported illegal mining activity in Sitio Capandanan, Barangay Manlocboc in Aguilar, Pangasinan.

The two agencies mobilized their men to verify reports from local residents that several men, reportedly headed by some Chinese nationals, entered the area supposedly to conduct mining operations.

Provincial Environment and Natural Resources Officer Leduina Co denied the reported claim of those undertaking the mining activity that her office issued the corresponding permit as mining is not the concern of her office but of the BGMS.

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On the other hand, BGMS Regional director Carlos Tayag said he has sent a team from his office to verify the reported mining activity, although he categorically said his office did not issue mining permit whatsoever to any person or company undertaking the mining activity in the area.

As this developed, members of the Samahan ng mga Aguilarenians Para sa Kalikasan expressed opposition to any mining activity in their town as it poses danger to the environment and the eco-system.

They said the activity endangers the public forest in Aguilar town.

A report of the Aguilar police as early as April 29, 2014 confirmed the existence of the illegal mining activity supposedly being conducted by the Multicon Mining Company.

The police investigated the matter upon receipt of text messages from concerned citizens informing of an alleged attempt by a group of men supervised by a Chinese national to bomb a tunnel in Sitio Capandanan, Barangay Manlocboc, Aguilar last April 29, 2014.

A report of Senior Inspector Jaojoco Ramos Cagaoan, chief of police of Aguilar, showed he sent an inspection team in the area, which discovered mining exploration in the place more particularly on a tunnel in Sitio Capandanan.

The inspection team noted that a top soil there was scraped off and flattened to serve as pathways towards Barangay De Guzman, Mabini, Pangasinan.

The police said one Antonio Polbera of Barangay Cabyangan, Mabini, employed as helper, was seen after in possession of a mining tool just after coming out from the tunnel where he had collected four kilograms of cracked stones taken from the surface of the tunnel allegedly to be subjected to laboratory examination to confirm the presence of copper.

The Aguilar police reported that the operation is supervised and facilitated by one Lu Xiao Min of Guandong, China, who is temporarily residing in Barangay Bolaoen, Bugallon, with his assistant Eddie Breguera of Barangay San Vicente, Alaminos City, both allegedly employed with the Multicon Mining Company owned and operated by a certain Osmundo Chua whose business address is at Burgandy Tower on Ortigas Avenue, Makati City with sub-office at Barlo, Mabini.

Mayor Eduardo Ballesteros ordered the mining company to stop its operations when the group could not present any authority to conduct mining operation in the area. (PNA)

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