(Philippine Daily Inquirer, Melvin Gascon, Jan. 5, 2010) This vessel MV Nam Yang 8 ran aground near Barangay Balaoi in Pagudpud, Ilocos Norte. The 3,400 ton vessel manned by 22 North Korean crewmen carried 2,800 metric ton of magnetite sands claimed to be originating from Cagayan.
Mario Ancheta, Cagayan Valley director of the Mines and Geosciences Bureau, stood by his earlier statement that the Nam Yang 8 shipment was covered by a valid export permit issued by the provincial government, a claim that was denied by Gov. Alvaro Antonio.
Crew members of MV Nam Yang 8 abandoned ship after it listed off the shores of Claveria, Cagayan, on Jan. 1. They reached the village of Taggat Norte in Claveria aboard a life boat.
“We have gotten reports that an immigration official in Ilocos Norte got a call from this politician from Cagayan to transfer custody of the Koreans to immigration officers in Cagayan, apparently because they have better control of things if they are in Cagayan,” said Fr. Edgar Agcaoili, parish priest of Baggao town.
A report sent by Claveria police officials to Chief Supt. Roberto Damian, Cagayan Valley police director, showed that Paulino Verzosa, acting alien control officer of the Bureau of Immigration in Laoag City, gave up custody of 10 of the 22 North Koreans on the intercession of Eva Antiporda, alien control officer of Aparri in Cagayan.
Damian declined to answer questions on the North Koreans’ status or if the shipment of about 2,800 metric tons of magnetite was covered by documents. Damian said the police have been providing security to the North Koreans, not as a special case, but merely as a routine procedure.
“Those are matters that are the concern of other government agencies. Our concern is mainly security,” Damian said.
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So what are the concerns of other government agencies in Cagayan on magnetite mining? Are these government agencies still issuing export documents to continue mining black sands in Cagayan? Are these government agencies in Cagayan providing preferential treatment to people engaged in black sand mining?