The Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB) Western Visayas Regional Director Roger A. de Dios, in an interview Tuesday, April 30, denied the existence of sand and gravel quarries that ships resources from the province of Antique to China.
De Dios said he has no knowledge of any Mineral Ore Export Permit (MOEP) applicant in Antique or even in Western Visayas.
“There has been no Mineral Ore Export Permit applicant since October when I assumed as director,” de Dios said in a Philippine News Agency report.
The MGB-6 Regional Director, who is also Provincial Mining Regulatory board chairman of Antique, added that although there are currently 94 permittees in the province, none of these are for large scale quarrying.
He explained that a 50,000- ton cargo vessel is needed to transport 30,000 cubic sand and gravel. “In Antique, the cargo vessels that dock on its port are only about 3,000 tons,” he said, making the claims impossible.
Furthermore, de Dios pointed out that using low capacity vessels would deem costly for permittees of sand and gravel as they will opt to do “double handling” where a transfer from smaller vessel to larger vessel for China is necessary.
Andres Untal, the Provincial Environmental and Natural Resources Officer of Antique, supported de Dios and said sand and gravel shipments from their province only end up in the Philippines and not internationally.
“If you see the paper trail, the shipments are in Guimaras, Negros Occidental, Palawan, Mindoro and Romblon,” Untal said.
De Dios argued that claims of shipments to Kalayaan Island due to the ongoing construction in the area, whether true or not, is still within the Philippines.
Meanwhile, Antique Governor Rhodora J. Cadioa challenged the National Bureau of Investigation to find out who is behind alleged quarry operations shipping to China saying that such activities lacking proper documentation are not tolerated under her administration.