TUGUEGARAO CITY, Cagayan: Gov. Manuel Mamba gave assurances that no black sand mining will take place in the dredging of the Cagayan River.
“I will resign as governor of this province if there is any evidence of black sand mining in the Cagayan River during its rehabilitation. I am one among the few government officials who fought against black sand mining here in Cagayan province in the past,” he said, adding that he remained against it.
He started his fight against onshore black sand mining in Cagayan province while he was in Congress. He continued his fight against the mining operation with local government officials until it stopped while he was serving as presidential legislative liaison officer under then-President Benigno Aquino 3rd.
With two private contractors dredging the Cagayan River for free, the Build Back Better Task Force has formally launched the Cagayan River Rehabilitation Project (CRRP) on Tuesday with ceremonial dredging of sandbars along the Magapit Narrows and bamboo planting along the riverbank in Barangay Bangag in Lal-lo town in time for the celebration of the 25th World Wetlands Day.
He said he knew Cagayanos were worried about a possible repeat of what happened in the past black sand mining operations in parts of the Cagayan River and the beaches of Aparri, Buguey, Gonzaga, Camalaniugan, Sanchez Mira, Pamplona, Ballesteros, Abulug and Claveria, and even in the town of Lal- lo during the past administration in the province.
“The rampant and blatant desecration of Cagayan’s wealth is the reason why Cagayanos have doubts about the national government-sanctioned CRRP, which we have been pushing in the provincial government aiming to end the flooding in the Cagayan and Isabela provinces,” Mamba said.
According to the governor, he respects the views of the Cagayanos concerning the project. This is proof that Cagayanos care about what is happening in the province.
Mamba said together with the people of Cagayan he would make sure that there would not be any black sand mining involved in the CRRP so that it can be carried out properly and not be tainted by any illegal activities.
The governor also promised that the Cagayan provincial government with local government officials will not turn away from listening to the grievances of the people about those who are damaging the natural resources in the province.
Mamba said the government would not spend any money on the CRRP and instead, dredging companies will pay the province excise taxes, quarry fees and monitoring fees.
“The taxes and fees which will be collected from dredging will be shared by the villages and municipalities covered by the project, and the provincial government will also have its share,” he added.
Mamba is also appealing to the people of Cagayan to cooperate in the CRRP, which has no other purpose but to save the entire province for the generations to come from the various calamities that Cagayan may experience.
Meanwhile, Engineer Mario Ancheta, Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB) Region 2 director, said all the materials that could be extracted from the Cagayan River would all be for the dredging companies to dispose of.
Ancheta said these companies would not be allowed to dump the sand to be extracted from the river in any parts of the province. The MGB will oversee the excavation and dredging operators would be asked to pay excise taxes if any precious metals will be extracted from the river.