Cagayan rejoices over black sand mining suspension

Buguey, Cagayan -- Three towns of Cagayan – Aparri, Buguey and Lallo – are elated after Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB) national office suspended the Minerals Processing and Sharing Agreement (MPSA) of mining companies which had been extracting black sand minerals in the area in the northeast of Luzon.

Rosbin Martin, leader of Alliance for Buguey Committed for Development Association (ALBUCODA), one of the people’s organizations (PO) that spearheaded the fight against mining in Buguey, said in a telephone interview they are now celebrating.

“Labis ang aming kasiyahan at sa loob ng ilang taon na aming pag-aantay at pakikipaglaban ay nagtagumpay kami para sa kabutihan ng aming kababayan (We are truly elated that after years of waiting we finally won the battle for our provincemates),” Martin said.

Suspension orders to Huaxia Resources Corp. ,Hao Ren International Mining Group Corp., Feiron Steel Inc., Global Express Mining and Dev’t Corp., Nova International Cagayan KR Corp. and San You Philippines Mining Trade Ltd., were issued last April 28 and are still in effect as of to date, official sources said.

“God is good. After so many years of fighting, justice has been finally served.” said Martin.

Martin has been fighting the mining operations in the area since 2008 with other POs like Aparrianos Movement for the Conservation and Environmental Protection (AMCEP) and Concerned Laloeno Against Illegal Mining (CLAIM), both established in 2010.

She recounted the event that led to their victory that was in an Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) convention in Ortigas last March 25.

With the effort of national anti-mining group Alyansa Tigil Mina (ATM), representatives of local POs from Cagayan, Martin got a chance to personally talk to MGB national director Leo Jasareno and expose the illegal mining operations in Buguey, Lallo and Aparri.

“We showed Director Jasareno photos of mining operations in our area and at first he couldn’t believe it because as far as MGB was concerned, they already ordered these mining companies to stop dredging our coastal areas and river banks.” Martin recounted.

MGB made a site visit in Cagayan on April 8 which resulted in the issuance of the mining companies’ MPSAs suspension.

“MGB representatives found continuous mining operations in our respective areas. They saw the adverse effects black sand mining was doing to our environment.” said Martin.