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(A Brief Summary of Black Sand Mining, Ilocos Sur Experience)

1. Black Sand Mining in Ilocos Sur initially came into the public notice as early as 2008, when the residents of Barangay San Sebastian, San Vicente, Ilocos Sur endorsed an undated Resolution addressed to the Regional Offices of DENR and Mines and Geosciences Bureau. Said Resolution sought for the STOPPAGE of Black Sand mining taking place in the aforementioned Barangay.

2. Responding to the Resolution, Regional DENR and MGB commissioned and sent a team to investigate. Said Team coordinated with the local PENRO and CENRO. Investigators concluded that there was no actual black sand mining in the area mentioned in the Resolution.

3. As black sand mining discreetly continued and the peoples clamor for its ban intensified, provincial and local officials vehemently denied the presence of black sand mining and claimed that dredging is mistaken to be black sand mining.

4. In August 2011, the Vicariate of St. Mark of the Archdiocese of Nueva Segovia (Ilocos Sur), composed of 4 civil municipalities, submitted a formal letter to President Aquino, requesting for an Executive intervention to ban black sand mining in Ilocos Sur. Copies of the letter were furnished to the offices of National and Regional DENR. Office of the President through the Presidential Management Staff channeled the action to the National and Regional DENR. BUT THERE WAS NO STOPPING BLACK SAND MINING.

5. Following up the issue, again a Signed Manifesto against black sand mining was sent to the National and Regional Offices of DENR. Still black sand mining persisted. On site ocular inspection of the Ilocos Sur Collective Action for the Protection of the Environment (ISCAPE), it was discovered that concrete structures were already built in Sitio Namnama, Brgy. Tamorong, Sta. Catalina, Ilocos Sur.

Inside the said structure were complete equipment and machineries. Another bunk house occupied by Taiwanese nationals was erected in Brgy. Nagtupacan, San Vicente, Ilocos Sur. Residents around the area disclosed that these structures were indeed intended for full blast black sand mining operation.

7. Photos and Video footages related to these structures in the above mentioned areas were sent to National and Regional Offices of DENR and MGB. While structures are built and machines are stationed in the areas of San Vicente and Sta. Catalina towns,

heavy equipment like loader, back hoe and dump trucks are positioned in Brgy. Caparacadan, Caoayan, Ilocos Sur. Residents divulged that black sand mining is going on.

Loaders and back hoes are busy everyday extracting the black sand aggregates on shore, loaded into dump trucks and were transported to nearby Salomague port in Cabugao, Ilocos Sur and and Curimao port in Ilocos Norte. It is estimated that hectares of the shoreline is voided of black sand. Actual operation and stockpile of black sand aggregates were photographed and recorded on videos.

10. While on shore black sand mining is persistent, off shore black sand mining was also continuous. These claims can be corroborated by videos and photos taken related to sea crafts frequenting the vicinity of Ilocos Sur seas. Residents are alarmed by the presence of these vessels docked nearby their areas for weeks and can attest that all these are connected to black sand mining activities.

11. Residents likewise reported that dump trucks loaded with black sand aggregates are spotted on the national highways towards the direction of SalomaguePort (Cabugao, Ilocos Sur) and Curimao Port (Ilocos Norte). ISCAPE went to verify if black sand aggregates really are unloaded on these ports. It was found out that black sand aggregates are indeed stockpiled in warehouses inside Salomague and Curimao ports ready for shipment abroad.

12. Initially, chenglong dump trucks were seen on staggered basis so as to avoid suspicion. Later on, chenglong dump trucks which are believed to be owned by foreign nationals, obviously Chinese/Taiwanese, were substituted by local dump trucks which took the tasks of hauling black sand aggregates from the mining site to the ports. These can be attested by text messages of people who have witnessed the transporting of black sand aggregates.

Black Sand Mining in Ilocos Sur has become large scale with the processing plant built in 2011 in Sitio Namnama, Tamorong, Sta. Catalina, Ilocos Sur. Black sand material collected from Offshore mining operation along the seashore of Ilocos Sur and siphoned to the processing plant are segregated with magnetic machines. Stockpiles of black sand concentrates are hauled and transported by dump trucks from the plant to the ports for illegal shipment.

11. The eroded coastal areas in barangays Paratong and Tamorong, Sta. Catalina,

The eroded coastal area in barangay Caparacadan, Caoayan,

The eroded coastal area in barangays Calongboyan, Casiber and Rancho, Santa,

the depleted coastal areas in San Sebastian, San Vicente, barangay Villamar, Caoayan

and barangay Villahermoza, Sta. Cruz

the sinking islands of barangay Uribi and Dammay, Santa

the sinking island of barangay Puro, Caoayan

are the threatening environmental effects of black sand mining in Ilocos Sur, without mentioning the effects on livelihood and the high risk on the lives of people.

12. On January 28, 2013, the Regional Office 1 of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources through the Mines and Geosciences Bureau, issued a CEASE AND DESIST ORER to Wellresource Mining Inc. for its black sand mining in Brgy. Caparacadan, Caoayan, Ilocos Sur and Brgy. San Sebastian, San Vicente, Ilocos Sur. Another order issued on March 26, 2013 to the same mining operator in San Sebastian, San Vicente but never implemented.

13. Having all these evidences, ISCAPE put the pressure on National DENR and MGB offices. It sent petition letters supported by photos and videos, to reiterate the immediate stoppage of black sand mining. However, THERE WERE NO PROACTIVE ACTION AND OR MEASURES IMPLEMENTED TO STOP BLACK SAND MINING IN ILOCOS SUR.

14. On February 9, 2013, a Prayer Rally by multi sector groups was held at Plaza Burgos, Vigan City to bring the issue to the attention of the local officials and to pressure STOPPAGE of black sand mining. Archbishop Ernesto A. Salgado, DD, spoke on the said rally echoing the public sentiment that black sand mining must be stopped immediately. In their letter dated Feb. 19, 2013, the priests of the Archdiocese of Nueva Segovia joined the petition of the people to President Aquino to stop Black Sand Mining in Ilocos Sur

15. On March 8, 2013, ISCAPE spearheaded another Prayer Rally in front of DENR national Office. After the Prayer Rally, a dialogue with Jasareno was held. In the dialogue with Jasareno, National Director of Mines and Geosciences Bureau, Jasareno DECLARED that there was NO PERMIT issued to any mining company that should have allowed black sand mining in any area within Ilocos Sur. Said declaration of Jasareno confirmed that black sand mining in Ilocos Sur is indeed ILLEGAL.

16. Likewise in the dialogue, Jasareno vowed to coordinate with the NBI to enforce the stoppage of black mining in Ilocos Sur. As an outcome of that VOW of Jasareno, indeed, NBI team came for a reconnaissance, to survey and study the areas to be raided. HOWEVER, FOR REASONS UNKNOWN TO THE ILOCOS SUR COLLECTIVE ACTION FOR THE PROTECTION OF THE ENVIRONMENT (ISCAPE), NO ACTUAL NBI RAID TOOK PLACE.

17. On May 8, 2013, an ORDER was issued to Wellresource Mining Inc., confiscating in favor of the Philippine Government, the magnetite sand stockpiled at Brgy. San Sebastian, San Vicente, Ilocos Sur. Another succeeding Cease and Desist Order was issued on May 30, 2013 to different mining operators, Yinyi-Wellresource Mining, Inc., An Bang Mining Company, and Hong Ze Mining Corp., but like the three previous orders, it was never implemented. Black Sand Mining continued to plunder the land.

18. Despite the declaration of the Mines and Geosciences Bureau that black sand mining in Ilocos Sur is ILLEGAL and despite the subsequent ORDERS that were issued to curb the proliferation of black sand mining in Ilocos Sur, said ILLEGAL ACT persisted and has become bolder and more blatant to the public eye.

Convoy of dump trucks loaded with black sand aggregates STILL were visibly spotted along the national highways of San Ildefonso, Sto. Domingo, Magsingal, San Juan, Cabugao and Sinait, transporting the magnetite sand from the mining site in Brgy. Caparacadan, Caoayan, Ilocos Sur, Sitio Namnama, Tamorong, Sta. Catalina, Ilocos Sur, Brgys. Nagtupacan and San Sebastian, San Vicente, Ilocos Sur, to Salomague Port Cabugao, Ilocos Sur and Curimao Port, Ilocos Norte.

19. The Social Action Commission of the Archdiocese of Nueva Segovia in a letter noted by the Archbishop Ernesto Salgado, requested the PNP Provincial Command of Ilocos Sur to intervene by installing check points on locations where transporting of black sand aggregates are regularly spotted by the public.

National Command of the PNP has issued a Directive ordering the Regional Command and Ilocos Sur Provincial Command of the PNP to curb black sand mining in Ilocos Sur by installing checkpoints. There was no compliance on the part of Regional and Provincial PNP Commands. To this day, NO CHECKPOINT HAS EVER BEEN INSTALLED ON THE SPECIFIED AREAS.

20. Off shore,

on shore

inland extraction of black sand remained unabashed.

Transport of black sand persisted and continued.


Volumes of black sand aggregates have already been stolen from the Ilocos Sur shorelines. Hectares of Ilocos Sur coastal areas have been voided of magnetite sand.

Black sand mining in Ilocos Sur has been declared UNLAWFUL. Cease and Desist Orders were already issued.


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