TACLOBAN CITY, Leyte: A Roman Catholic priest of the Archdiocese of Palo based in MacArthur, Leyte has appealed to government officials in the province and officials of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) in Eastern Visayas to stop black-sand mining in their town.
Rev. Fr. Amadeo Alvero, parish priest of the St. Isidore Parish in MacArthur town, made the appeal to Leyte Gov. Leopoldo Dominico Petilla; Leyte Second District Rep. Karen Javier; members of the Leyte Sangguniang Panlalawigan (Provincial Council), led by Vice Gov. Carlo Loreto; Mayor Rudin Babante; Vice Mayor Rene Leria; members of the Sangguniang Bayan (Municipal Council); and officials of the DENR and Mines and Geo-Sciences Bureau in Eastern Visayas.
MacArthur is located some 45 kilometers south of this city.
Alvero said he was appealing to stop the black-sand mining in their town in view of the tremendous flooding this week in Cagayan province in Region 2 (Cagayan Valley), Marikina City in the National Capital Region (NCR or Metro Manila) and many other parts of the country caused by Typhoon “Ulysses.”
Alleged illegal logging and illegal quarrying were blamed for the floods that left 73 persons dead and P10 billion in losses to agriculture and infrastructure nationwide.
“I am pleading on [ bended knee] to stop the blank-sand mining here in MacArthur, Leyte,” he added.
Alvero said, ”If we protect the environment from [destruction], the environment will protect us from [destruction], and if we protect Mother Earth, our Mother Earth will protect us in return.”
They can win their battle against the black-sand mining with the help of the government officials, said the priest.
Sources told The Manila Times that hectares of agricultural land in six barangay (villages) of MacArthur town were being mined of black sand, allegedly by Chinese nationals, who were exporting the Philipine national resource to China through the ports in the towns of Tolosa and Isabel, Leyte.
The concerned Leyte officials and DENR executives were unavailable for comment as of this writing.