By Joey Natividad
LAGONOY, Camarines Sur (BicolToday.com/17-May-12) – The 13 China men arrested for illegal possession of dynamites by Lagonoy police on April 20. this year, were out on bail after their lawyer posted Php2.6 million at the San Jose regional court for their temporary freedom.
The men are natives of Fujian, Yunnan, China, who were working at the Bicol Chromite and Manganese Corporation mine site at Sitio Benguet, Himagtokon village, this town.
Arrested for illegal possession of explosives, and later freed on bail are Liu Kailiao, Chen Wenle, Yang Zhenyta,Gong Shenyin, Tiang Mingzhi, Gong Shenjin, Huang Yuanbao, Tiun Chaoheng, Chan Liuwen, Tiang Yong Hong, Liu Kaixiany, Xiong Guang Shun, and Luo Kaiqiang.
Through their lawyer, they posted bail at Php 200,000. each, with total sum of Php 2.6 million.
On April 20, Lagonoy Mayor Delfin Pilapil, Jr., together with policemen, visited and conducted ocular inspection of the mine site, and they found, by accident, almost 500 pieces of dynamite, detonating cords, blasting caps, and related materials for explosives in the storeroom near the workers’ quarters.
The China men has been working in the mine site without work permits. The dynamites were used to blow up chromite ore deposits inside the tunnels, and to open up new tunnels. The mountain areas are rich of chromite, manganese, and gold mineral deposits.
“This is our country and Filipino laborers are not allowed to work inside the mining site, and these China men are working without permits, they should be deported at once,” said Pilapil, as he pondered on why the company refused to hire Filipino labor, and instead employ miners from China. On how the mining firm acquired explosives without the legal documents also caused arresting policemen to think about.
In a related move, a government prosecutor filed a motion in court to withdraw the bailbond granted to the China men. Fiscal Sergio Ramos, provincial prosecutor, moved for the court to recall the China men back to jail on grounds “that the volume of explosives seized from them are disastrous, and could cause widespread destruction that such offenses, punishable by reclusion perpetua, are non-bailable.” The motion is under study by the court.
Unconfirmed reports said the China men are under the custodial care of the Ambassador of China.
Despite campaigns by anti-mining and environment groups in the country urging the government to stop all forms of mining nationwide, mining firms have managed to penetrate deep into mining activities, disregarding government regulations. In the celebration of Earth Day last month, environment- and anti-mining groups, led by PANGATAMAN-BICOL and SAVE RAPU-RAPU ALLIANCE, blamed greedy mining firms and government neglect over the the abuse of Bicol mineral resources. [BicolToday.com]
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