THE National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) has alerted the Singapore government regarding the transport of illegally mined minerals from unauthorized dredging operations being conducted in Macolcol River in San Felipe, Zambales, that are reportedly being smuggled to Singapore.
Lawyer Eric Nuque, chief of the NBI-Environment Crime Division, said those involved in these illegal activities must be stopped and immediately arrested, which is why they have alerted the Singapore government about the smuggling activities.
The NBI is conducting its own investigation to find out who are the people behind the illegal dredging operations of black sand, white sand and lahar in Zambales, which are being smuggled to Singapore.
Earlier, the NBI arrested 10 foreign nationals allegedly involved in the illegal dredging operations in Zambales.
Charges for the violation of Section 103 (Theft of Minerals) of Republic Act 7942— otherwise known as the Philippine Mining Act of 1995—were filed before the Office of the Provincial Prosecutor in Iba, Zambales, against Zhining Tang, Liao Nantu, Yichang Lin, Zhibin Xu, Jinewei Chen, Hongming Zhou, Wen Haihu, Yong Wang, Tang Peilong (all Chinese nationals) and Afrizon Hary (Indonesian).
The NBI said it had received information regarding the illegal extraction of lahar sand from the mouth of Macolcol River in San Felipe, Zambales, being undertaken by foreign dredging vessels commissioned by domestic firms that have no government permit.
After conducting a series of surveillance operations, the NBI arrested the foreigners.
“The 10 arrested foreign nationals, most of whom are Chinese, were caught operating the dredging vessel SL-D1 siphoning sand which is suspected to be black sand from the dead river and transporting its cargo to the mother vessel. Five vessels along the mouth of the Macolcol River were likewise seized. The confiscated vessels consist of one dredger vessel, one tugboat and three dumb barge,” NBI Director Dante Gierran said.