PH soil for China’s reclamations, treason with government consent


First Read
Starting today, I will open every Observer column with a section called “First Read.”

It will feature and highlight stories and issues that demand urgent commentary and publication. In style, it will be like the front-page “Good Morning” column that I used to write for a now defunct newspaper (Philippine Daily Globe), and which some readers apparently miss. So here goes:

The following story, not the state-of-the-nation address of President Duterte, made me cry (to use the lachrymose words of Communications Secretary Martin Andanar).

It concerns the discovery and revelation that while the country was howling about China’s forced takeover of the Scarborough Shoal and its land reclamations and infrastructure buildup in the South China Sea, China, with the evident consent of the Aquino administration and the collusion of local executives, bought two entire mountains in the province of Zambales to generate soil for its land reclamations in the disputed waters.

Exposed by online media    
An online website and news portal, called the Maharlikan, first exposed what had happened in a report posted on November 8, 2015.

The report was headlined, “Chinese Mining Firms in the Philippines are smuggling soil to build Chinese Islands.”

The report opened with these ominous words: “Inside sources from the National Intelligence Coordinating Agency (NICA) have found out that some Chinese mining firms are smuggling soil and rocks to help build a chain of Chinese islands in the West Philippine Sea. NICA agents were baffled to find out that besides the Ore and Nickel that these mining firms are exporting to China, a large amount of soil and rocks are secretly smuggled then ends up directly in one of the Chinese reclamation islands. The smuggling operation usually happens during the heat of the day so as to hide the operation as an ordinary day in the mining area.

“It’s quite saddening that the soil and rocks used in building the Chinese islands have come from the Philippines. In simple words, the Philippines itself is indirectly contributing to building the islands, to what these islands will be utilized later on as Military bases to solidify and expand the Chinese encroachment on Philippine territories.”

The Maharlikan posted the story along with pictures of Chinese ships hauling away the soil and rocks; and pictures of trucks delivering the raw materials to the ships. The photographic documentation must have been supplied partly by the NICA source. And there should be even more incontrovertible evidence in NICA’s files.

Mainstream media did not get hold of the story until now, or would probably not have been interested then, being mostly yellow media.

Toll on Zambales environment
The story finally broke into the open when a new provincial government took over in Zambales soon after the May 9 elections. Gov. Amor Deloso, the new governor, revealed in a media conference that two mountains and almost half of Zambales were sold to China in recent years and some rocks and soil were shipped to the disputed islands to reclaim 3,500 hectares.

The online website, Get real Philippines, was the first media organization to alert me to this appalling story, in an article written by the highly readable Ilda.

Ilda asked what the hell was the BS Aquino government doing all these years? How in the world did BS Aquino allow China to use Philippine soil to reclaim the disputed territory – the same one that caused the Philippines to file a case before the Permanent Court of Arbitration at The Hague?

When the case was filed in January 2013, it would appear from the NICA disclosure that then president Aquino and his government already knew that Philippine soil was being used for the Chinese land reclamations, because it was the government intelligence agency that documented the earth-moving operations and the involvement of the Chinese mining firms.

Need for sweeping inquiry
Department of Environment and Natural Resources Secretary Gina Lopez has promised that her department will investigate the matter.

She declared: ”This is horrible. I will find out whoever gave the permit. China can never be allowed to use our soil as their landfill. If there are DENR officials involved, they will be made accountable…Heads should roll. If the truckloads came from us, we should be aware.”

Lopez is talking only of a DENR inquiry. A bigger inquiry is needed to determine the full extent of accountability and liability in this distressing case. The inquiry should encompass the DENR, the provincial and muncipal governments, and the security agency. If the report is true, that some Chinese troops are actually based now in some parts of Zambales, then national security may have been breached.

We strain to find the words
It’s fortunate that this scandal did not blow up before the Hague tribunal reached its verdict, because had the judges known what our officials were secretly doing, they might have dismissed the case for our lack of seriousness. They surely would not have ruled so overwhelmingly in our favor as they did.

We are now so inured to venality in public office, and its ever increasing outrageousness, that we Filipinos strain to find the words to describe the new crimes and suspects.

Marcos tried calling them “ notoriously undesirable.”

Congress passed a l aw on the crime of plunder, which made plunder a non-bailable crime.

President Cory Aquino tried to teach Juan Ponce Enrile a lesson by charging him with “rebellion complexed with murder.” It was an embarrassment for her government.

We talk of crimes being heinous to make them reprehensible and non-bailable.

The rape of the Zambales environment for Chinese money is worse than heinous.

It is hideous and grotesque.

We should not balk at calling this “treason.” Or we should try labeling it as “treason complexed with government consent.”

We might miss the point
With this level of venality and audacity, we not only run risk of running out of words; we are in danger of missing the point.

What is wrong with this country is not that we don’t have the laws that criminalize such activities. It is that we lack the ability and the will to enforce the law, and apply the punishment.

We thought the coming of the punisher would end the impunity. When we turned around, we saw to our alarm, however, that he may actually be increasing the number of those who go unpunished.

This unusual Zambales case confronts us with a test which we must frankly face. Through the years we have been confronted by various forms of treachery in our public life, in times of war, and in times of peace, but we never had the institutional fortitude to resolve the cases with finality.

The forms of treason have changed in our history; but the essential crime remains the same.


Please follow our commenting guidelines.


  1. Dig, dig and dig and find out who was the author of all the treason done to our Country. If it is PNoy, file a case against him. If it is Egbane, file a case against him. This case must be dealt with seriously because the person who is responsible helped China destroy the Philippines THIS IS TREASON!

  2. ayaw nila ng death penalty,so vigilantist will or doing the job…and it started.sooner or later this big heads will fall to the ground….sawa na ang mga pilipino sa mga mandurugas na politiko at authoridad….dapat lang na wakasan na…ito ay para sa kabataan…bukas.


    The first operation of this kind must have started in Tubay, Agusan del Norte, and elsewhere in that area thru the coast of Surigao. This should also be investigated.

  4. Government official is to be blame for this corruptions , greedy , hungry money monster. We can not blamed the vendors . It’s business’s . we have to clean within to solve this big big issues.

  5. Francis Dizon on

    This abominable act of treachery must not remain unpunished. More so because it involves rich and larger civilian and political personalities all venom to our march towards change. This is the litmus test on Dutertes’ love of our country.
    If it were true that unauothorized Chinese soldiers were in Zambales for whatever purpose, let me be the first person on the firing line.
    My address:

  6. This act of China is treachery to the PH’s demonstrated friendliness, regardless of whether they bought that land to whoever.

    In my opinion our govt should revoke that deed of sale if any, and order a halt to their mining activity ASAP and to make them pay for actual and exemplary damages

  7. So what’s the big deal using Zambales soil to dump it in Scarborough shoal? Just like moving Makati soil to Manila at the expense of the Chinese. You guys forgetting Scarborough shoal is RP? lol

  8. Was everybody sleeping while this was happening for years? Let’s say the government from top down to the municipal/barangay level was notified and involved, the military, the police, the mayors, governor, congressmen, senators, who else knew about this and kept silent?? What about the media? CPCP, and NGOs?

    The Philippine media should cleanse itself of rotten people. PD Inquirer? They have been fooling us for a long time. If not for the social media, patay na tayo.

  9. Willie Rosacia on

    We created so much uproars in the WPS while we knowingly allowed these malignant (chinese) cancers eating us from within. They grab our lands by the buckets and, at the same time, poison a generation of our youths with shabu, and corrupt the hearts and minds of our elected officials. If we don’t do anything to resist these devils now, we will one day wake up already occupied with no chance to resist.

  10. Ignacio Balbutin on

    This is worst than treason. The President should not leave one stone unturn to investigate this matter. How can a foreign force enter our shores without being notice???. The man behind this treason should be face the firing squad. Mr. President di papayag ang mamayang pilipino na bale walain lang ang kasong ito. Please investigate it immediately and punish the culprits whoever they are.

  11. The prophetess Jean Dixon predicted that B.S. Aquino III presidency would usher in the most corrupt period in Philippine history!

    O nagyari na nga, itatago pa sa madlang people ang katotohanan ng mga yellow media, revisionist historians, paid political analyst at iba pang traidor sa bayan.

    Basahin niyo wikipedia page ni B.S. Aquino III, napaka-SANITIZED!

  12. sobra’ng tahimik nina ex-gov. hermogenes ebdane at ex. denr sec. paje. sila ang dapat magpaliwanag nito. about time that we hear from them.

  13. Hermogenes Ebdane is accountable for this mess. He was the provincial governor that time this happened.

  14. Stop all Chinese Mining in the Philippines they are front only of Chinese government. In Manicani Island they are also hauling soil as part of they called legal mining but the truth the make it as a backfilling material in their man made island the same as through to all mining in Zambales. Closed all Chinese Mining Company operated in the country stop exporting mineral ore in China.

  15. Aba, talagang atin ang scarborough, pati pala pantambak galing pinas. baka sinadya ng gagong si abnoy para pag nagimbistiga e talagang atin. ha ha ha.

  16. rudy lagasca on

    Can you please publish photographs showing the mountains before and after the Chinese extraction of soil? Thank you.

  17. When it comes to crime commited by Philippine elected politicians, they seem to be above the law and always excused from penalty. That’s the reason corruption in the Govt. never ends, can the new administration put a dent on it ?

  18. whoever are involved directly and indirectly in this treasonous act should be put to death.

  19. Dapat lamang ibalik Na ang Death Penalty. Mga Pilipino Hindi titino hanggang walang masalang sa Firing Squad. Firing Squad ang Dapat Sa mga traidor Sa inang bayan!!

  20. you are right mr. makabenta in that gina lopez must likewise investigate her own backyard…and that means the denr, the mgb and its tegion 3 office, the emb and its region 3 office, the provincial mining board if not the multipartite monitoring team as required by the eis/eia of the concerned mining firms. big mining firms are supposed to have an approved eis where the ecc issued to them defines the various protective measures they are supposed to comply with. if they went rogue, it only means that the regulators were remissed in their duties maybe because they were paid off……by the way, as a side note, arroyo’s denr secretary then, michael defensor, became ceo of three PSE listed mining companies immediately after his denr stint which are likewise involved in mining operations in zambales,

  21. this story was in the inquirer last week before it was deleted the same day, see how long it lasts in this paper

  22. These registered mining firms must be held accountable.These firms maybe own by Chinese. Are Chinese in control now of the Philippines?

  23. P.Akialamiro on

    If this case is not resolved with some or someone being held responsible and punished accordingly, there’s no need discussing it. We just have to be content with having a government which is a BIG joke!

    May God bless the Philippines.

  24. Prinze Fisher on

    Gov. Amor, why cry foul only now? If the local government of Zambales had been vigilant beofre, this should not happen at all?

    I really hope DENR will expedite its investigation and make those greedy government officials pay (from local to national leaders).

    This is also a very serious national matter that the Senate must investigate.


    Who is/was the governor of the province when this transaction occurred? This must have approval from the highest level of government. Why was this done in secret. Who receive the money from this sale? Pres. Duterte must convene urgent, top level investigation to uncover the truth and hold the responsible, corrupt officials and citizens to justice. What is next for sale in PI? However, shenanigans will stop now that Duterte is in power. In PI history, the problem with the law is corrupt lawyers and politicians. It’s changing and criminals better pay attention since Duterte is serious in cleaning up the nation of slime balls and entrenched political elites.

  26. Blame Ex Governor Ebdane. He destroyed Zambales landscape by building lots of private ports to cater to Chinese mining activities, and leveled up mountains.

    It’s all about money and corruption. I still wonder why the Ombudsman has not indicted Ebdane, a very corrupt official.