MANILA, Philippines – An end to black sand mining as most of the material is exported to China, Senator Raffy Tulfo opposed the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) on Monday.
“It is destroying our rivers and coastlines. I wonder why the DENR is not doing anything to prevent this?” Tulfo said, speaking partly in Filipino, during deliberations on the department’s proposed P24.5 billion budget.
The senator noted that black sand mining is common in several parts of the country, particularly in Zambales, Cagayan, Ilocos and Mindoro.
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Tulfo noted that only operators and the Chinese government benefit from this.
“This is how operators operate. Only they benefit from it, not our country. They give the impression that they are engaged in mining or dredging. Therefore, a permit from the local government unit is sufficient [local government unit] for dredging to widen the river. But this is just a ruse to extract black sand,” Tulfo said.
“They are getting a lot of this black sand and what is worse is that our fishermen are being chased away by the Chinese Coast Guard in the western Philippine Sea. But now our minerals and natural resources, such as black sand, are being imported to China,” he added.
Senator Cynthia Villar, chairwoman of the Senate Committee on Environment, Natural Resources and Climate Change, said the DENR has agreed to stop black sand mining.
“DENR promises that it has made its presence known and will stop black sand mining,” Villar said.
She added that the DENR will also need the help of the Ministry of Interior and Local Government to implement the order through local governments.