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Comprehensive probe pressed

A peasant group cited rampant black sand mining as among the causes of the “worst” flood to hit Cagayan and Isabela during the rampage of typhoon Ulysees.

According to Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP), aside from black sand mining, both illegal and legal logging are rampant and it’s no wonder their consequences are now being felt.

KMP said the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) should be asked about the inundation of Cagayan and Isabela.

KMP President Danilo Ramos said fishermen have long been calling for the dredging of the Cagayan River but this has been ignored by until the flood came.

The DENR finally ordered the dredging of the about 30-kilometer Cagayan River.

Along with the dredging work, the peasant group also called for a law that would ban black sand mining and even legal logging.

Black sand mining is considered legal as long as those behind it have been issued a permit.

Ramos lamented that even though black sand mining is strictly regulated Chinese vessels are still seen secretly carrying out their dredging operation.

He said he they have been seeing staff of local government units (LGUs) themselves guarding the Chinese vessels.

It is said that contractors are raking in $50 million or P2.6 billion from black sand mining in Cagayan.

Black sand is used as stabilizer in concrete and steel products and also in jewelry and cosmetics manufacturing.

Hong Kong is one of the countries with a big demand for black sand.

Although proficts from black sand mining is good it has a huge impact on nature and is the foremost reason for loss of fishery resources, soil erosion and floods, which is why Sen. Leila de Lima proposed a total ban on the activity in her Senate Bill (SB) No. 1075.

De Lima had warned that Cagayan could be submerged within 30 to 70 years as a result of black sand mining if this will not be stopped.

In previouis years the House of Representatives and the Senate had investigated black sand mining in Cagayan but those behind the anomaly have yet to be punished.

Ramos appealed to Speaker Lord Allan Velasco to include illgeal black sand mining and illegal logging in its inquiry into the massive flooding in Cagayan wrought by typhoon Ulysses.

KMP insisted that the House probe would be more comprehensive and benficial to the country if illegal black sand mining and logging will be included in the investigation to get to the root cause of floods in Cagayan and Isabela and resolve the problem.

“Comprehensive investigation ang dapat na gawin ng Kamara, dapat matapang nilang silipin ang mga nasa likod ng illegal logging at black sand mining na siyang talamak sa Cagayan, dahil ito ang siyang problema at dahilan ng paglubog ng lalawigan,” Ramos stressed.