Thursday, March 13, 2014

No black sand mining ever, says Pangasinan exec

LINGAYEN, Pangasinan – The chief of the provincial government’s housing and urban development coordinating office yesterday took exception to a published story in the March 12 issue of national dailies, denying that there is “”continuous extraction of black sand along the Lingayen shore.”
“What black sand mining are they talking about?,” Engr. Alvin Bigay, provincial housing and urban development coordinating officer, said when sought for comment on the story yesterday adding that “Black sand mining never happened in Lingayen, Pangasinan.”
In preparation for the golf course development, unwanted materials, such as magnetite sand, have to be extracted to allow grass and other golf course vegetation to grow, a necessity the Environmental Management Bureau (EMB) recognized and allowed, Bigay said.
Earlier, Mines and Geosciences Bureau Regional Director Carlos Tayag said that the extraction of the magnetite or black sand was necessary because turf grass would not grow with its presence in the golf course area.
According to Orpheus Velasco, provincial information officer, the black sand mining issue was used by the political detractors of Gov. Amado T. Espino, Jr. during the election campaign period in a desperate bid to damage the credibility of the governor.
Governor Espino, now on his third and final term, won by an overwhelming landslide in the May polls over his lone rival.
Even after the Environment Management Bureau (EMB) of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) issued an Environment Compliance Certificate (ECC) for the proposed golf course, the opposing political camp manipulated the local village officials to file the complaint before the anti-graft body, Velasco said.

The ECC was granted two months before the start of the official campaign period upon the recommendation of EMB regional director, lawyer Juan Miguel Cuna.
“However, the big majority of Pangasinan voters didn’t buy the opposition’s cheap propaganda as the governor garnered 851,760 votes against his opponent’s287,409,” Velasco said.

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