ZAMBOANGA SIBUGAY: The mining of river sand continues unabated in Naga town in the southern Philippine province of Zamboanga Sibugay.
Enterprising villagers have built flat-hull wooden boats to haul sand from the river and bring them to the shore in the village of Tenan where they sell the sand to buyers. One elderly villager said the sand sells P500 a cubic meter and that many people are buying from the village for construction purposes.
“They get the sand in this river and this has been going on for a long time now. You know this is the livelihood of many people here,” he said, pointing to a group of men who were unloading sand from their boats as children watched from the top of the village bridge just across a police checkpoint.
“The big guys get and sell sand and they make money out of it. It’s a good business,” a village boy told The Manila Times.
The sandmen were curious at the presence of a news photographer, but they continued unloading the sand from their boats as other village elders gathered in one corner of the river bank, their curiosity piqued by the presence of “outsiders.”
It was not immediately known whether the mining of sand in the river is legal or not or whether the sandmen are paying taxes from the sale of the river sand. But under the Local Government Code, the province may levy and collect not more than 10 percent of fair market value in the locality per cubic meter of ordinary stones, sand, gravel, earth, and other quarry resources—as defined under the National Internal Revenue Code—extracted from public lands or from the beds of seas, lakes, rivers, streams, creeks, and other public waters within its territorial jurisdiction.
The permit to extract sand, gravel and other quarry resources shall be issued exclusively by the provincial governor and the proceeds of the tax shall be distributed among the provincial government—30 percent; municipal government 30 percent and the rest goes to the village.