Drone captures sorry state of Zambales mountains allegedly mined for China’s artificial islands

admin   •   August 8, 2016   •   20955

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A statement by Zambales governor, Amor Deloso became hot topic when he revealed that the Chinese government is allegedly using Philippine soil extracted from the mountains of Sta. Cruz, Zambales to build their artificial islands on Scarborough Shoal.

UNTV News & Rescue travelled to Zambales to personally confirm the claims of Gov. Deloso regarding the widespread destruction on its mountains.

Together with local officials, the team visited LNL Archipelago Minerals Incorporated in Barangay Guinabon.

From the entrance, one can clearly see that the foot of the mountain had been hewn out to create roads for heavy equipment.

LNL ‘s Sta.Cruz Nickel Mining Project resident manager, Deody Solee confirmed that the soils extracted from their mines are being transported to China. However, Solee strongly denies they are being used on Scarborough Shoal.

“There’s no truth to that. Can you imagine yung lupa ang itatabon nila dun, na madaling anurin ng dagat yun. So supposed to be, dapat ang nilalagay dun bato, para hindi mabubuwag yung kung itatambak nila dun sa dagat,” explained Solee.

(There’s no truth to that. Can you imagine if they use the soil as landfill; the sea will sweep it away. So supposed to be, rocks should be used to stabilize the landfill so as not to be easily eroded by the sea.)

On the other hand, Governor Deloso said, the company should refute allegations on the issue.

“Kapag sinasabi nila ngayon na hindi totoo itinambak doon sa Scarborough (Shoal) then there must be a trace of the documents. Meron ba silang Bureau of Customs permit? Meron ba silang Coastguard permit? Because to bring out the minerals from Zambales for purpose of mining exportation, kailangan may trace of documents. Can they really prove that?”

(If they are now denying that the soil is being deposited on Scarborough (Shoal) then there must be a trace of the documents. Do they have Bureau of Customs permit? Do they have Coast Guard permit? Because to bring out the minerals from Zambales for purpose of mining exportation, there should be a trace of documents. Can they really prove that?)

The UNTV team visited other mining companies operating in Zambales to verify reported damaging effects of mining activities on the environment.

With the help of a drone, UNTV was able to capture the extent of damage that Eramen Minerals Incorporated and Bengetcorp Nickel Mines Incorporated have purportedly inflicted on two mountains in the course of their mining operations.

According to Deloso, thousands of trees have also died including the endemic Mindoro Pine Tree.

UNTV had tried to get a statement from Benguet Corp. Nickel Mines Incorporated but the latter refused an interview.

(JOSHUA ANTONIO/ UNTV News & Rescue)

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13 missing after boat sinks near Bajo de Masinloc; search ops underway – PCG

Robie de Guzman   •   November 13, 2019

MANILA, Philippines – Around 13 Filipino fishermen went missing after their boat sank near Bajo de Masinloc in Zambales last week, the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) said on Wednesday.

In a statement, the PCG said it is currently conducting operations to search for the missing fishermen of “FFB Three Sister.”

The agency said the fishing vessel sank on Nov. 7 at around 3 a.m. as it was sailing from Recto (also called Reed) Bank going to Barangay Sisiman in Mariveles, Bataan.

Strong winds and huge waves brought about by Tropical Cyclone ‘Quiel’ allegedly caused the boat to sink.

A few days after the incident, a fisherman named Angelito Epetito Jr. was rescued after he was found floating using a container along Bajo de Masinloc.

The PCG said the boat mishap was only reported to its station in Bataan through a radio communication on Nov. 11, adding that a team was immediately deployed after it received the information.

The rescued fisherman said he got separated from his companions and was unable to regroup with them.

He said he remained afloat for four days until rescue came.

The PCG said it has dispatched three of its floating assets – the BRP Tubbataha, BRP Capones and the BRP Boracay – to search and save the lives of the missing fishers.

It added that it is also set to coordinate with the Chinese Coast Guard to seek information on the possible whereabouts of the 13 missing fishermen.

PH hosts 1st South East Asia co-op and training exercise vs. illegal drugs and terrorism

UNTV News   •   August 21, 2017

MANILA, Philippines — The South East Asia Cooperation and Training or SEACAT Exercise 2017 began on Monday in the Philippines.

This is a yearly multilateral maritime security information sharing exercise in Asia.

For the first time, this year’s SEACAT exercise focuses on anti-terrorism efforts and on preventing the spread of illegal drugs through the maritime sector.

“We have a porous border. The campaign of the president against illegal drugs should be intensified, as well as his campaign against terrorism. In terms of the illegal drugs menace, the US Coastguard, in particular, is expert on that matter,” said Philippine Coast Guard Spokesperson Cmdr. Armand Balilo.

“Addressing terrorism is also important because we are now guarding the Southern Philippines. This is so that those attempting to wreak havoc in the country will not be able to enter,” he added.

45 members of the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) and the Philippine Navy represented the country in the maritime drill.

This was also the first time the Philippine Navy and PCG participated in the SEACAT since its inception in 2002.

The SEACAT is led by the US Coast Guard with representatives from other Southeast Asian Coast Guards and navies like the Indonesian Coast Guard or BAKAMLA, Indonesia Navy, Sri Lanka Navy, Royal Thai Navy and the Thai Maritime Law Enforcement Coordinating Center.

The SEACAT has three phases. First is the academic seminar which is held in Singapore. Second is the boarding workshop held here in the Philippines and the command post exercise which will be held in Singapore and Brunei.

The US and South East Asian navies and coast guards will deploy their vessels and aircraft here in the Philippines, with the special operations group to do the deployment in Subic, Zambales and the Philippine Navy in several parts of Sulu.

Meanwhile, the PCG clarified that the Philippines’ relationship with China will not be tarnished by the two countries’ territorial dispute over the West Philippine Sea.

“We have a clear cut guidance from the president. We have agreements, in fact we have law enforcement teams to be sent to China. So whatever the conflict in terms of territory would be, we are leaving it up to the Department of Foreign Affairs,” Balilo said. – Aiko Miguel | UNTV News & Rescue

Additional 30 armored cars and military supplies delivered to Iligan City

UNTV News   •   June 1, 2017

IMAGE_UNTV_NEWS_053017_ILIGAN CITY

ILIGAN CITY, Philippines — The first Strategic Sealift Vessel of the Philippine Navy, the BRP Tarlac, arrived Wednesday at the port of Iligan.

The Philippine Navy said the vessel sailed from Subic Bay, Zambales with 30 armored cars and tons of supplies on board.

The supplies will be distributed to various units of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) across Mindanao.

This would help augment the transport and logistical requirements of government troops for the ongoing military operations against terrorists.

The vessel can accommodate more than 4,000 tons of cargo and 500 personnel.

It is usually used for military operations but can also help in mass evacuation and international humanitarian assistance in times of crisis or calamities. — Rey Pelayo | UNTV News and Rescue

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