Gov. Roel Degamo has directed Mercy Teves, head of the Environment and Natural Resources Division, and technical men Ruperto Badon Jr. and Junar Sevilla to look into the dredging permit application of Sino-Italy Construction Philippines Inc.

The company has entered into a memorandum of understanding with the Tanjay City government to dredge the Tanjay River, but some local officials and residents are opposing the project because of apprehensions that it is only a front for magnetite, or black sand, mining.

Degamo said that, aside from the Environmental Compliance Certificate, he is requiring the company to ensure the safety of people in the surrounding areas, make sure that their livelihood is not affected, the environment will not be jeopardized, and it will comply with paper work, including endorsements from the City Risk Reduction Management Council, the barangay and the Sangguniang Panlungsod.

Badon and Sevilla said Tanjay fishermen are complaining that they cannot dock their bancas in the shoreline because it is being fenced by the company.

At the SP session recently, Badon urged the Sino-Italy Constructionnot to proceed with the dredging operations unless the governor issues all necessary permits.

Meanwhile, Provincial Environment and Natural Resources officer Oscar Magallones yesterday said that magnetite miningwas also reported in the shorelines of Sta. Catalina to Bayawan City in Negros Oriental.

He said the Bayawan City government has issued a cease-and-desist order against the magnetite operator, reportedly a Chinese company, due to lack of permits.

Department of Justice Secretary Leila de Lima is urging the public to report any mining activity involving black sands in their community.

The National Bureau of Investigation DumagueteCity FieldOffice, led by Dominador Cimafranca, started its own investigation on the magnetite mining in compliance with the directive of De Lima.*JG