BUGUEY, Cagayan: To revive a lagoon rich in aquatic resources recognized by the United Nations (UN), fishermen here urged the local government to conduct dredging activities in partnership with a private construction firm formerly engaged in magnetite extraction.
The project will hopefully improve the decreasing catch from the 14-kilometer Buguey Lagoon because of continued siltation in the area.
Roman Castillo, a local fisherman, said siltation is also responsible for heavy floods in the town, especially during the rainy season.
Philos Paddaya, a private construction firm, said it would do the job for free as part of its “social responsibility commitment.”
Company spokesperson Randy Miranda said that even if the firm’s magnetite operations have stopped, dredging would “proceed as part of our commitment to help revive the lagoon for the livelihood of residents.”
The Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) said it is supporting the Buguey Lagoon project to improve the lives of fishermen in the coastal town.
BFAR officials approved the project provided “it will not disturb the habitats of endemic species in the area, especially ‘siganids’ [Malaga], shrimps and shellfish as well as crabs and crablings.”
Anti-mining groups, especially opponents of magnetite mining extraction, have expressed concerns about the project. However, the Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB) said the Buguey Lagoon project is not about black sand mining but a dredging project.
MGB officials said the project intends “to clean up the town’s more than 14-kilometer brackish water lagoon from massive siltation.”
”It should not be mistaken as a front for black sand mining because it is actually a dredging activity aimed at cleaning the lagoon,” according to Engineer Mario Ancheta, Cagayan Valley MGB director.
Buguey Lagoon was declared as “a land of international importance” by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Educational Council in Ramsar, Iran in 1998 which is why experts described the project as an “urgent undertaking.”