OPPOSITION Senator Leila M. de Lima filed a resolution investigating the negative environmental effects of black sand mining in Lingayen Gulf.

Proposed Senate Resolution (SR) No. 920, filed on Tuesday, directs the Senate Committee on Environment, Natural Resources and Climate Change to investigate “the detrimental and disastrous effects” of the recently approved project on the surrounding coastal areas in Pangasinan.

“The State is duty-bound to protect the lives and livelihood of its citizens and uphold existing environmental laws and polices over any and all transactions and contracts it has entered into with individuals and entities concerning these environmentally critical areas (ECAs),” she said in a statement released on Friday.

“Activities which tend to negatively impact and destroy the environment must always be preceded by meticulous assessment of their consequences,” she added.

Local communities call the offshore black sand mining project, scheduled to run for 25 years, an “environmental monster,” she said.

Ms. De Lima cited a 2016 study, where researchers found that black sand mining disturbs marine and coastal ecosystems, and increases erosion and other associated geohazards. It warned that coastal erosion affected areas even decades after cessation of the mining activities.

Von Mark R. Mendoza, a Provincial Board Member, expressed alarm after an official of the Environmental Management Bureau (EMB) informed provincial officials that the project’s proponent, Iron Ore, Gold and Vanadium Resources (Phils.) Inc., will be extracting 25 million tons of black sand annually.

“Whatever benefits brought by these businesses are nothing or barely anything if the welfare of the people is not considered. Most of all, life and safety of their lifestyle should be the government’s priority,” Ms. De Lima said in Filipino. — Alyssa Nicole O. Tan

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