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10 foreigners charged for illegal extraction of minerals in Zambales

The National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) has filed criminal charges against 10 foreigners arrested for illegally extracting minerals in Zambales last Saturday.

Facing charges for violation of Section 103 (theft of minerals) of Republic Act 7942 or the Philippine Mining Act of 1995 are nine Chinese and one Indonesian.

The NBI identified the suspects as Zhining Tang, Liao Nantu, Yichang Lin, Zhibin Xu, Jingwei Chen, Hongming Zhou, Wen Haihu, Yong Wang, Tang Peilong (all Chinese) and Afrizon Hary (Indonesian).

All of them had already underwent inquest proceedings before the Zambales Prosecutor's Office.

Case records show the NBI had received information regarding the illegal extraction of lahar sand from the mouth of Macolcol River in San Felipe, Zambales being undertaken by foreign dredging vessels commissioned by domestic firms that lack the necessary government permits.

Operatives of the NBI-Environmental Crime Division (NBI-EnCD) then undertook surveillance activities and measures to validate the information that resulted in a joint operation by the NBI-EnCD, Mines and Geosciences Bureau-Region 3, and Department of Labor and Employment and the local police.

According to NBI Director Dante Gierran, the foreigners were caught operating the dredging vessel siphoning the suspected black sand from the river and transporting its cargo to the mother vessel.

Seized from the operation were five vessels consisting of a dredger vessel, a tugboat, and three dumb barge. — Virgil Lopez/RSJ, GMA News