SANTA TERESITA, Cagayan: Aqua farm operators in the coastal towns of Cagayan expressed alarm over an impending fish kill because of the continued activities of black sand mining firms despite the stoppage order issued by the Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB).
Engr. Danilo Tamayo, founder of DATAJ Fishing Industry and Resorts Inc., feared that some 100 hectares of aqua farms in Gonzaga and Santa Teresita towns are on the verge of being poisoned and polluted.
On July 2, the MGB issued a stoppage order against Lian Xing Philippines Curving Co. Corp. and Land Wealth Resources Inc. to prevent them from extracting magnetite sand beyond the authorized area, which threatened nearby aqua farms.
The order was reinforced on Thursday through the joint operatives of the police regional mobile group and the MGB.
Mario Ancheta, Officer in Charge of the MGB regional office in Tuguegarao City, said that the continuous magnetite and sand extraction in the prohibited area is in violation of a Cease and Desist Order (CDO) issued in 2009 by Environment Secretary Joselito Atienza.
“Within 500 meters from the mean low tide level and onshore within the 200 meters from the mean low tide level along the coast area are closed to mining applications as per DAO [DENR Administrative Order] No. 96-40,” Ancheta said.
“[This CDO] was not yet lifted hence, it is still in force and effect,” he added.
Marian Cristi Cabalse, president of DATAJ, said: “the two mining firms are a few meters away from the [shrimp]farm and we fear so much that water intake to our settling ponds will be contaminated by their chemical polluted runoff.”
Meanwhile, the Philippine Network for the Environment said that the continuous extraction of magnetite sand would lead to massive destruction of marine resources in the area.
In its more than 48 hectares of shrimp ponds, DATAJ produces an average of 500 kilos of Vanamae shrimps for local consumption, and 3,500 kilos for delivery to major cities outside Region 2.
Vanamae shrimps live in brackish water, and are one of the best-selling produce of Santa Teresita and Gonzaga towns.