EDITORIAL : No longer a blank wall?

February 16, 2015 at 8:54 am Leave a comment

The issue on illegal black sand mining in Pangasinan has not yet simmered or subsided. Even after the Office of the Ombudsman indicted Governor Amado T. Espino Jr. and 13 others for violation of Section 3(e) of Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act,, residents of Capandanan, Malimpuec, Sabangan and Estanza in Lingayen have not stopped their quest to have the beaches of Lingayen Gulf given back to them. The shores of the gulf including the sea have been their source of livelihood for years but their access was deterred by the provincial government due to the construction of 3-kilometers, 6-feet high concrete fence.
It will be remembered that in 2011, the provincial government started to quarry black sand along the Lingayen Gulf at the 180-hectare eco-tourism area to give way to the construction of a 12-hole golf course.
The excavation of black sand was contracted to Alexandria Mining Ventures and later on, to Xypher Builders. Provincial officials have repeatedly denied that they were extracting black sand but only “unwanted elements and materials” for vegetation like turf grasses to grow.

The denials have caught even the attention of then Bayan Muna Rep. Teddy Casiño, Archbishop Socrates Villegas and environmentalist groups. The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) through its Environment Management Bureau (EMB) issued a “cease and desist order” to the provincial government and the contractor to stop the black sand extraction but was not heeded.
The concrete fence was then constructed, which, according to the provincial officials, will serve as barrier for beach sand to enter the golf course that was then being constructed. The construction of the fence caught the ire of the residents in the villages affected and called for its demolition. Their calls fell on deaf ears of the provincial government.
Why was the concrete fence constructed in the first place? What benefits could it give to the provincial government? There are still no foreign or local investors for the golf course and is far from being operational so why fence the area? Speculations ensued. The concrete fence was constructed to hide the operations of illegal black sand including the transfer of the same to a port for shipment to other countries, particularly China. It was also constructed to deny the residents to cross the golf course which would destroy the grasses. Whatever reasons or speculations, the concrete wall along the Lingayen Gulf manifested an administration that is not sensitive to the preservation of environment and also to the livelihood of the people living in the area.
Lately, one of the complainants on illegal black sand mining Has requested DENR to issue an order to remove and dismantle the concrete fence after the residents continuously voiced out their sentiments. When that order from DENR will come out, the residents will soon see again the beauty of the Lingayen Gulf. They could again frolic along the shores which have been their playground for years. This is if the provincial government headed by Espino will follow the order of DENR, if ever that agency will issue an order to demolish the wall.

Entry filed under: News.

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