“We should recommend for its cancellation” said the PENR Officer and newly delegated Provincial Mining Regulatory Board (PMRB) Chair for Occidental Mindoro Abe R. Francisco pointing out toPitogo Pebbles Pickers Cooperative and its renewed pebbles picking permit last October, 2016.

Francisco discussed the violation committed by the cooperative as they did not follow the parameters of their applied and approved permit during the Provincial Mining Regulatory Board meeting held at the Provincial Capitol building last August 2, 2017.

It was stated that the permit granted for the cooperative excludes the use of shovel and other equipment or machineries, and must do manual picking only which was exactly the opposite of how the cooperative has done the operation.

Upon receiving the complaint about an alleged white sand mining instead of pebbles picking in SitioPitogo, Pawican, Ilin Island in San Jose, Occidental Mindoro,an immediateverification and investigation was conducted by Francisco on the area last July 18, 2017 which resulted into supporting the validity of the complaint.

According to Francisco, there were no pebbles present on the materials collected by the cooperative but onlywhite sand and dead corals. The statement was then supported by the PMRB Vice Chair, PG-ENRO Myrna Ramos as herself witnessed the destruction caused by the cooperative’s unacceptable abuse to the island’s resources.

Ramos presented to the board the samples of materials being extracted from the area, together with the photos of the whole site.

“We instructed the cooperative to stop the operation” stated Ramos.

Francisco then suggested to recommend the cancellation of the cooperative’s permit and to impose sanction for the damage created on the island. He also insisted that the cooperative must return the stocks left to the shore.

The said recommendations were approved by the board and these will be referred to the Provincial Governor’s Office and the Environmental Management Bureau.