Senator Raffy Tulfo urges the DENR to stop rampant black sand mining in the country by issuing a departmental order stopping all its operations. Tulfo issued the statement during deliberations on Monday, November 20, 2023, of the DENR’s 2024 budget proposal. (Photo by Senate Office of Public Affairs and Information)

MANILA, Philippines – Stop black sand mining as much of the material is being exported to China, challenged Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Senator Raffy Tulfo on Monday.

“This is destroying our rivers and coasts. What makes me wonder is why isn’t the DENR doing anything to stop this?” Tulfo said, speaking partly in Filipino, during deliberations on the proposed P24.5-billion budget for the department.

The senator noted that black sand mining is rife in various parts of the country, especially in Zambales, Cagayan, Ilocos and Mindoro.

TO READ: Pangasinan executives protest massive black sand mining in Lingayen Gulf

Tulfo noted that only operators and the Chinese government benefit from this.

“This is the operators’ modus operandi. They are the only ones who derive revenue from this and not from our country. They are making it look like they are extracting or dredging. So all they need is a license from an LGU [local government unit] for dredging to expand the river. But it is just a ploy for black sand mining,” Tulfo said.

“They get a lot of black sand, and what’s worse, our fishermen are chased away by the Chinese Coast Guard in the West Philippine Sea. However, now our minerals and natural resources such as black sand are being brought to China,” he added.

Senator Cynthia Villar, who heads the Senate Committee on Environment, Natural Resources and Climate Change, said the DENR has agreed to stop black sand mining.

“The DENR promises that it has made its presence felt and that it will put an end to this black sand mining,” Villar said.

She added that the DENR would also need assistance from the Department of the Interior and Local Government to implement the order through local governments.

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