Olongapo SubicBay BatangGapo Newscenter

Monday, October 27, 2008

Pimentel wants illegal mining in Zambales stopped

Senator Aquilino Pimentel, Jr. has urged the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) to put to a halt the illegal mining operations in Candelaria, Zambales province.

Pimentel said Prime Picks Company, a private firm headed by a certain Roberto Go, has been extracting black sands along the Candelaria seashore, a violation of an existing law prohibiting all forms of mining and quarrying in coastal areas which are classified as "salvage zone."

He said the extraction of sands on the shore destroys the natural barrier that prevents the seawater from overflowing that causes flooding in the beach area and the nearby village.

Under the law, mining and quarrying are banned within 200 meters from the salvage zone.

"I was able to talk to [DENR] Secretary (Lito) Atienza and he assured me he would act on my request immediately. He agreed with me that the mining firm has no business operating there," Pimentel said.

Pimentel, Senate Minority floorleader, said he obtained first-hand information about the illegal mining activity during his visit to Candelaria town over the weekend.

He said the farmers in one barangay complained that their ricefields have been damaged by the intrusion of sea water caused by the illegal mining.

The municipal council of Candelaria has approved a resolution asking proper government authorities to stop the company's mining operation in view of the destruction it is causing to the environment that endangers the welfare and safety of the people in the nearby community, he said.

Noting that Prime Picks does not have any valid permit, Pimentel said, the company owners should be held criminally liable for its illegal mining operations.

"Here is a clear example of an unscrupulous mining company operating without regard to environmental laws, unmindful of the hazards that its operation is causing the local residents and completely ignoring the authority of the local government unit concerned. We should not allow this intolerable situation to go on," he said. (PNA)

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