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Double jeopardy Chinese aggression in Zambales?

Posted On 2014 Aug 12
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Myrna Aquitana_LighthouseManila journalist Jarius Bondoc recently published a story regarding Chinese aggression not only on the Panatag/Scarbourough Shoal controversy in Bajo de Masinloc, Zambales, but  the current invasion of a part of the West Philippine Sea-side in the town of Santa Cruz, Zambales.

As a native of Zambales and as one whose grandfather is Chinese, it pains this writer to learn of this story from Des King, our egroup moderator from Iba, Zambales.

Chinese miners have allegedly landed there “stealing nickel ore the same way they poach fish in the shoals.” Some “local officials must have been bribed and they’re in collaboration with these Chinese miners.”

The three Chinese conglomerates listed operating there are:

  • Jiangxi Rare Earth & Metals Tungsten Group
  • Wei Wei Group
  • Nihao Mineral Rsources, Inc.

 Bondoc further reports that ‘through Filipino dummies they have set up five supposed ‘minahang bayan or small-scale mines.” These five “mines” load “ore and unload equipment in one common pier, betraying the fact that they are  actually one and the same.”

According to Philippine Republic Act 6082, Section 1, “There is hereby created in the Department of Justice  which shall be  designated and known as the Anti-Dummy Law and shall be vested with and shall excercise the powers and duties herinafter:”

“Anti-Dummy Law protects the Philippines from unlawful use and exploitation having in its name or under its control , a right, franchise, privelege, property or business , the excercise or enjoyment of which expressly reserved by the Constitution or the Laws to citizens of the Philippines for at least 60% of the capital of which is owned by  such citizens and a maximum of 40% for a foreign investor.”

The Chinese mining companies allegedly paid the local people as dummies, but they “virtually own the 60% while controlling the 100% full ownership.”

Further, Republic Act 6082, Section 3 on Anti-Dummy Law, states that “any corporation or association violating any of the provisions  of the Act shall, upon proper court proceedings, be dissolved and offering rewards.25% to the informer in Section 3-A . If dummy will come out, they would have a chance to own 25% of the whole Chinese illegal investment and 75% would be turned over to the goverment.”

The five operatives “machinate under cover of the People’s Small Scale Mining Act of 1991 who use sophisticated explosives, excavators, drill and crushers.They blow-up mountains for tens of thousands of tons of nickel ore per day and they allegedly turn these nickels into high-tech weapons at the expense of farmer’s lives.”

Reports have come out from this writer’s provincemates in Zambales that “residents of Sta. Cruz have witnessed their forests being denuded and have poisoned its farmland, rivers and sea. Townspeople in both Masinloc (where Panatag/Scarborough Shoal is) and Infanta, Pangasinan (the other neighboring area of Sta. Cruz) both suffer environmental-related acute respiratory illnesses brought about my muddled coastal waters. These Chinese mines have not improved local household incomes either. Their entire mining industry still has one of the highest poverty rates.”

Health and environmental problems are accompanied by economic and political decay. According to Bondoc’s account, by “disguising these so-called small scale mines, the five Chinese owners are able to skirt the stringent rules on the large mining operations. Provincial business permits can be obtained within days for as low as P10,000 (pesos) and environmental clearances of P15,000 (pesos), as compared to the year-long  wait for the large companies who are more scrutinized.”

“Virtually unregulated these five Chinese mines pay no duties, no taxes no fees or royalties; they’re not even responsible for the local townsfolk’s medical expenses” Locals from neighboring areas claim that they’ve watched the “departures of four ore-laden carriers from their common wharf per week.”

It was also reported that “the mayors of Sta. Cruz, Masinloc and Infanta, Pangasinan profess to oppose the Chinese mines but there’s widespread speculation that the provincial capitol of Zambales and Pangasinan go over the mayor’s area of responsibility by dealing directly with the barangay officials” which was somewhat “questionable” because on December, 2013, the mayor of Infanta, Pangasinan was murdered.”

Bribery stories surrounding these Chinese mines have been around since they settled in 2005. “The Wei Wei Group allegedly entered via Botolan, Zambales in 2005  through a “rushed approval during the Arroyo tenure. They came when GMA allowed China to “explore” Philippine waters under a “Joint Seismic Marine Understanding.” This led the group to later discover the Sta. Cruz-Masinloc-Infanta ore mines.”

Finally, Bondoc reported that the “Juangxi Group joined in partnership with a Nihao Minerals officers group who were in turn affiliated with

Geograce Resources Inc. This was the group involved in the alleged illegal grant to ZTE International Corp. in 2005, regarding the mining rights in the gold rush area of Mount Diwalwal , Compostela Valley in Mindanao.”

It is therefore obvious that the Philippines is now China’s main source of nickel, although there is no exact figure, these “Small Scale Mines” operate under “local government licenses, beyond the scope of the Philippine Bureau of Mines and Geosciences.”

Our country prides itself on our resiliency as Filipinos.  Let us all rally against foreign aggression. This must be stopped!

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