DASOL, Pangasinan: Police and the Department of Environment Natural Resources (DENR) in Region 1 Task Force intercepted on Thursday afternoon 12 ten-wheeler trucks loaded with illegally extracted mineral ores from Cardon town in Isabela province.
Senior Supt. Ronald Oliver-Lee, police provincial director, said the task force led by regional director Paquito Moreno Jr. flagged down the trucks along Barangay Poblacion while they were conducting “Oplan Tokhang,” the government’s anti-drug campaign.
Senior Insp. Dennis Cabigat, town police chief, said one of the drivers admitted that they were contracted for P1,000 to deliver the mineral ores to a processing plant in Barangay Barlo here.
The intercepted trucks were carrying 3,000 metric tons of mineral ore.
The ore transport permit (OTP) bears the signatures of Noel Manuel Lopez, provincial administrator of Isabela, and Geronimo Cabbacan, Jr., environment and natural resources officer, issued to Golden Summit Mining Corp.
But Moreno claimed that the OTP is spurious as Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB) Region 2 Director Mario Ancheta has informed them that “all small-scale mining operations in the province of Isabela have been suspended.”
He said DENR personnel have been dispatched to coordinate with the provincial government of Isabela to verify the veracity of the OTP.
Meanwhile, Renato Rimando, Engineer 5 of MGB Region 1, said the OTP appears valid except the inconsistency between the commodity indicated in the document and the actual contents of the apprehended trucks.
“Assuming that the OTP is valid, the commodity therein indicated is mine tailings and waste materials but upon random grab sampling, we discovered that the trucks are loaded with freshly broken mineralized rocks and ores,” he noted.
Rimando said charges will be filed against the officers of Golden Summit Mining Corp., the truck drivers and helpers before the Prosecutor’s Office of Pangasinan.
Jaime G. Aquino