Construction firm denies mining violation in Pangasinan

LINGAYEN, Pangasinan, March 18 (PNA) — A Metro-Manila based construction firm, Xypher Builders, Inc., denied published reports accusing the company of continuing to extract and process magnetite sand in the eco-tourism zone along Lingayen shore here.

The denial was personally made by Xypher Builders president Belen Rocheford, in view of the continuous unverified reports that black sand mining is continuing in Lingayen, Pangasinan.

“We have not undertaken any kind of activity at the eco-tourism zone in Lingayen, Pangasinan after a CDO (cease-and-desist order) was issued by the EMB (environmental management bureau) through Region 1 Director Joel Salvador,” she said in a statement.

“We did not violate any directive of the DENR as we have, in fact, complied faithfully with the CDO and other relevant laws, rules and regulations,” she added.

In previous reports, Department of Environment and Natural Resources – Environmental Management Bureau (DENR-EMB) Region 1 Director Joel Salvador recommended the disapproval of the application for environmental clearance certificate (ECC) of Xypher Builders Inc. for a mineral processing plant in Lingayen, Pangasinan.

Salvador also claimed that Xypher extracted at least 1,000 metric tons of black sand and shipped these out to a private port in Sual despite the CDO.

On one hand, Rocheford said, “our firm has never brought in any kind of heavy equipment, neither has it ever constructed any kind of building or structure in said private port.”

“For the record, there never was any kind of mineral processing ever undertaken by Xypher Builders in said private port,” Rocheford said.

However, Rocheford admitted her firm transferred some 1,000 metric tons of materials in August, 2012.

“After that, there was no other subsequent transfer of any kind of materials from the eco-tourism zone in Lingayen, Pangasinan,” she pointed out.

The Xypher Builder executive clarified further that the transfer was “made only after a field verification report was conducted by MGB, which served as basis for the payment of the required taxes, and consequently, the issuance of the Ore Transport Permit (OTP).

She said the transfer of the materials from Barangay Malimpuec, Lingayen to Sual was done “in full and faithful compliance with the regulatory and legal requirements, including maritime law.”

This was supported by the required clearance secured from the Coast Guard,” Rocheford said.

Moreover, she said that her firm did set up a processing equipment on a private port facility in Barangay Bacquioen in Sual town.

“All these allegations are malicious,” she said. (PNA)