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City gov’t to probe manganese mining in Puerto Princesa

PUERTO PRINCESA CITY, Aug. 29 –- The Special Action Group (SOG) of the city government is set to investigate allegations that manganese mining is turning rampant in several outlying barangays of Puerto Princesa, which is contrary to its “no mining” policy.

SOG chief Randy Suelo said they will investigate reports of the Palawan NGO Network, Inc. (PNNI), an umbrella organization of environmental and other non-government organizations in Palawan, that manganese mining is becoming rampant in barangays Sta. Lourdes, Babuyan and Bacungan, all in northern Puerto Princesa.

Taking care not to divulge the details of their investigation so as not to scare away the miners, Suelo said Mayor Edward S. Hagedorn has directed them to conduct a probe on PNNI’s report that instead of only retrieval operation of manganese stockpiles, unscrupulous operators are actually mining manganese.

Arrests are not far from happening, Suelo added, if individuals will be found mining in the three barangays.

The PNNI, according to Elizabeth Maclang in a media interview, is convinced that manganese mining is happening in Sta. Lourdes, Bacungan and Babuyan, which is opposed to claims by individuals that they are just retrieving stockpiles.

It is also contrary, she said, to the “no mining” policy of Puerto Princesa that Hagedorn and the City Council approved a few years ago.

Through Maclang, the PNNI said the city government has no authority too, to issue permits for the retrieval of manganese stockpiles in Puerto Princesa. She said it is only the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) that has the authority to issue this.

The PNNI calls on the city government and Hagedorn to stop the mining of manganese in the said barangays to protect the environment, and bring to court those who will be found guilty of mining manganese.

To date, the PNNI has yet to find out how large the areas have been allegedly mined, and what is the volume of manganese stockpiles that has already been retrieved. (PNA)

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