No black sand mining in Ilocos Norte
(The Philippine Star) - August 28, 2013 - 12:00am

The undersigned humbly comes now before you in order to set straight the article of the honorable former Senator Ernesto M. Maceda in his column “In Search for Truth,” entitled “Big Business” written in your paper, The Philippine STAR, Aug. 8, 2013 issue. The first paragraph of said article said:

“Another billion-peso illegal operation is the mining of black sand or magnetite along the northern coastline of Cagayan and also parts of Ilocos Norte and Ilocos Sur, which has been going on for more than 10 years.”

Being the PENRO of Ilocos Norte, I am truly tasked to stop illegal black sand mining operations within my area of jurisdiction. Yet, contrary to Mr. Maceda’s article, Ilocos Norte is, or should be, an exception from his allegation of “another billion-peso illegal operation of black sand mining which includes Ilocos Sur and Cagayan” because there has not been any black sand mining in Ilocos Norte for the past ten years, especially in our coastal areas.

While it is true that there was black sand or magnetite mining in the province three years ago, the operation of which immediately expired four months due to limited stocks. In fact, such mining operation took place inside a private property and not in a coastal area.

For your reference, the undersigned sits as a member of the Provincial Mining Regulatory Board (PMRB) of Ilocos Norte which composes the following; Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB-R1), Provincial Government of Ilocos Norte-Office of the Governor (PGIN-OG), DENR-PENRO, large and small scale mining permitee representatives, and an NGO. With this representation since I assumed office in 2005 in this province, the PMRB has always been tough and reluctant on magnetite mining applications within our water’s edge. This is our stand because of the sheer thought that Ilocos Norte’s vast exquisite shoreline and the natural resources embedded in it may be forfeited or even destroyed.

Arguably, Ilocos Norte’s coastal area is one of the best in the North and in the country, and we, at the DENR-PENRO Ilocos Norte and our partners in the PMRB, mean to protect our shores from magnetite mining, or any other form of degradation, as we remain steadfast in our duties as stewards of the environment and natural resources.

Sending my best regards, and I hope that this humble note will reach the desk of the ever-sharp, unassuming, and honorable former Senator Ernesto M. Maceda. — JUAN P. DE LOS REYES, JR., PENR Officer, Ilocos Norte

BIG BUSINESS ILOCOS ILOCOS NORTE ILOCOS NORTE AND ILOCOS SUR ILOCOS SUR AND CAGAYAN IN SEARCH MACEDA MINING NORTE SENATOR ERNESTO M
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