COMBINED government operatives arrested on Thursday fourteen Chinese nationals that were reportedly involved in illegal black-sand mining activities in a remote village in Camarines Norte province, a government official said on Friday.
A report from the Presidential Anti-Organized Crime Commission (PAOCC) said the 14 Chinese were held after government agents swooped down on an open-pit mining site at Barangay Napaod, Labo town, Camarines Norte on Thursday.
The PAOCC, which is headed by Executive Secretary Paquito Ochoa, said in their report the mining site in the said village continues to operate despite of a government ban on open-pit mining.
The report named the 14 arrested Chinese as Huan Hu Yu, Ji Zhi Shang, Li Zhi Cheng, Feng Nan, Wang Jin Gwei, Liu Yu Xi, Jia de Chen, Zhu Yu Bao, Wang You Wei, Zhang Xian Jun, Yuan De, Xu Zhi, Zhu Young Rui and Xu Xian Ming.
The Chinese nationals were immediately turned-over to the custody of the Bureau of Immigration (BI) for documentation and processing following the raid on the said black-sand mining facility.
The PAOCC report said operation was jointly carried out by elements of the Philippine National Police (PNP), Naval Intelligence Security Group (NISG), National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) and DENR personnel.
The raiding government agents were also able to seize during the operation some P12 million worth of minerals, heavy equipment and other motor vehicles that were used in illegal black-sand mining activities.
The PAOCC report said the raid followed two similar operations in Aparri, Cagayan where authorities able to dismantle three Chinese-operated illegal black sand mining companies and recovered around P25 million worth of minerals and heavy equipment.
The PAOCC report said that the NBI is investigating the involvement of some local government officials in the illegal mining operations in Luzon. ANTHONY VARGAS