Is Zambales now Chinese territory?

GOTCHA - Jarius Bondoc - The Philippine Star

A very high official of the Philippine Retirement Authority is an American. Not a few readers e-mailed the info after reading my piece on Agriculture Sec. Proceso Alcala’s fair-haired boy. He got Orlan Calayag appointed as National Food Authority chief when the latter was a US citizen (Gotcha, 23 Oct. 2013).

I guess sending his citizens to work in the Philippine bureaucracy is one of Uncle Sam’s solutions to joblessness there.

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Another tip from readers: a high official of the National Irrigation Administration is an inveterate casino gambler. A newbie, he is like Calayag, a favorite of Alcala. Sooner or later that guy will be videoed at the gaming pit and go viral on YouTube. He will be an embarrassment, like the untouchable Land Transportation Office head Virginia Torres.

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Is Zambales province still Philippine territory, or now China’s? Zambaleños ask that, because local officials are giving away their natural resources to East Asia’s neighborhood bully.

In Barangay Maloma, San Felipe town, thrives black-sand mining by Chinese. They destroyed the fields and mountains to build a seaport big enough to accommodate their poacher vessels. While berthed the ships siphon the black sand into the hold with huge hoses, then sail away. No taxes or royalties are paid -- only bribes to the very officials tasked to keep them out. In China magnetite is separated from the sand, for use in steel and telecoms products. That includes weapons and surveillance systems. China deploys such materiél to invade Bajo de Masinloc (Scarborough Shoal), 123 miles from Zambales’ shore.

Same with the unabated nickel mining in Masinloc and Sta. Cruz towns. Disguised as small-scale, giant Chinese miners haul off thousands of tons of ore per week. In the home country the metal is extracted, also for weapons and spyware.

The Supreme Court last July ordered Environment and Natural Resources Sec. Ramon Paje and Zambales Gov. Hermogenes Ebdane to stop the pollutive operations. For reasons only they know, the two have not complied.

Last Sunday, Oct. 27, yet another bulk-cargo carrier anchored at dawn in Sta. Cruz’s pier, to load nickel ore. Though Bahamas-registered, the m/v Aqua Atlantic, call sign “C6YF9,” is actually Chinese. Skippered by Capt. Zhang Ke, it has 21 crewmen: 19 Chinese and two Burmese. Its last port of call was Huanghua, in China’s Hebei province.

The Constitution forbids foreign exploitation of natural resources. As reported in this column, Chinese are able to mine in Zambales via 93 small-scale locals as fronts. Ebdane signed the 93 permits all in one day in 2011. This, although they are outside the province’s suitable People’s Mine, reserved for indigents who use only picks and shovels. He did it by virtue of Paje’s crooked legal opinion that governors may grant such permits even if barred by a 2001 law. The non-lawyer forester Paje opined that although that law repealed a Marcos decree, governors may still follow the latter.

Paje recently reported to President Noynoy Aquino that he has filed lawsuits against Ebdane. Phooey! How can he sue someone whom he virtually authorized to break the law? Such suits are a ploy. Given the country’s unjustly slow litigation process, they are the alibis to skirt the SC’s halt order.

As for the black sand mining, Malacañang’s point man has not been scoring. Presidential Legislative Liaison Officer Manuel Mamba was tasked to stop it, particularly where it thrives most, in his Cagayan home-province. But the Chinese theft of shiploads of sand goes on in Aparri and Gonzaga towns.

Recently NBI agents and state prosecutors arrested and indicted three-dozen Chinese black sand poachers. But that’s in Ilocos Norte, on Cagayan’s opposite side of Luzon, north of Zambales. Reports have it that Paje’s field men allow the sand poaching in Ebdane’s turf.

Zambales mountains, rivers, coastal waters, and air are so dirty due to the illegal mines. Forests have been leveled, and streams drained. Masinloc and Sta. Cruz residents suffer from high incidence of lung and intestinal disease. The adjoining towns are called “the dump truck capital of Asia.” Thousands of ore-laden ten-wheelers line the highway, from the nickel mines to the Chinese-built pier.

Along with San Felipe’s, their seas have been muddied, the mangrove patches poisoned. Fishermen need to venture farther out to sea. But in the vicinity of Bajo de Masinloc, occupying Chinese vessels shoo them away with cannon fire.

Before Japan invaded the Philippines in 1941, it first dispatched spies to case the joint. Japanese engineers, marketers, and gardeners penetrated big plantations and factories, service companies, and homes of high officials. As soon as war broke out, they surfaced in Japanese Imperial Army uniform. Traitors from the Makabayang Pilipino welcomed them with open arms. It’s happening all over again, Modern-day MakaPili collaborate with Chinese economic saboteurs to weaken the Philippines, prelude to the grabbing more shoals, reefs, and banks.

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Catch Sapol radio show, Saturdays, 8-10 a.m., DWIZ (882-AM).

Gotcha archives on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Jarius-Bondoc/1376602159218459, or The STAR website http://www.philstar.com/author/Jarius%20Bondoc/GOTCHA

E-mail: [email protected]


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