Crooked local execs capitulate to China

GOTCHA - Jarius Bondoc - The Philippine Star

Surrender by local officials to enemy interests is not new. Those in Bamban, Tarlac and Porac, Pampanga only happened to use a new cover: Chinese offshore gambling. But the Chinese gambling lords can be spies. Police have interdicted cyber-sabotage devices, assault rifles, Chinese army fatigues and flags.

Cagayan local execs embrace Beijing. They abet the proliferation of hundreds of supposed Chinese college students. Suspiciously, the aliens speak no English or Filipino, are mostly of soldiery age of 30-35 and reside around two Philippine military camps.

A viral post exposes alleged Catanduanes capitulation. Officials supposedly permitted Chinese construction of exclusive ports and other facilities. The island-province faces resource-rich Philippine Rise on the Pacific side, which China covets.

Defeatism is Zambales officials’ weapon of choice. Chinese coastguards drive away Zambaleños from Bajo de Masinloc fishing grounds 120 miles from shore, and routinely trespass 12-mile territorial waters. Capitol execs merely shrug and say they can’t do anything.

Police raid on Chinese gambling den in Taguig last April yielded firearms and military gear.

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Eleven years ago, I wrote a series on Zambales collaborators who sold out to the enemy. China had just grabbed Bajo de Masinloc. Excerpts from Gotcha, 22 July 2013:

It’s not only Bajo de Masinloc (Panatag/Scarborough Shoal) that China has occupied. It has grabbed a slice of mainland Zambales. There, Chinese miners rule, stealing nickel ore the same way they poach fish. Bribed local officials abet them like present-day Makapili.

Three Chinese conglomerates operate in Sta. Cruz town: Jiangxi Rare Earth & Tungsten Metals Group, Wei-Wei Group and Nihao Mineral Resources.

Through Filipino dummies they have set up five fake “minahang bayan” or small-scale mines. The five load ore and unload equipment in a common pier, betraying that they’re actually one.

They machinate under the People’s Small-Scale Mining Act of 1991. Puny mines are for subsistence quarrymen who use only brawn, mini-crushers, hand picks and shovels. But the Chinese use sophisticated excavators, drills, crushers and explosives.

They extract tens of thousands of tons of nickel ore a day. A small-scale mine is limited to only 50,000 tons in its six-year lifespan.

Residents of Sta. Cruz cry that the Chinese have denuded the watershed forests and poisoned farmlands, rivers, sea and air. Adjacent Masinloc and Infanta, Pangasinan also suffer. Muddied coastal waters drive small fishermen farther out to sea. In Bajo de Masinloc, Chinese gunboats machinegun them.

The Philippines is now China’s main source of nickel. Sta. Cruz contributes sizably. Locals observe at the common wharf the departure of four ore-laden Chinese bulk carriers per week.

China processes the nickel into hi-tech weapons and surveillance systems “to sabotage the Philippine military and economy.”

The Sta. Cruz-Masinloc-Infanta highway is called the “dump truck capital of the Philippines.” Emissions of thousands of trucks and ore dust pollute the air. DENR reported on Nov. 15, 16 and 27, 2012 suspended particulates of 208, 727 and 824 micrograms per cubic meter, respectively, on the highway. Maximum tolerable is 90.

Sta. Cruz residents suffer acute respiratory infections. From 2001 to 2011, rural health workers noted an increasing incidence of 4,500 to 8,500 new cases per 100,000-population per year. Yet the Chinese mines have not improved local household incomes.

The five Chinese mines pay no taxes, duties, fees or royalties, for at least the sickened townsfolk’s medical expenses. Provincial officials alibi that local units do not get shares of central government revenues from big miners.

In 2011, DENR reported that three million tons of Philippine mineral ores processed in China were unaccounted for by Trade and Customs authorities.

The mayors of Sta. Cruz, Masinloc and Infanta profess to oppose the Chinese mines. That the mines continue to operate raises suspicion that the provincial capitols of Zambales and Pangasinan go over the mayors’ heads and deal directly with pliant barangay men. Either that or somebody’s lying. The mayor of Infanta was murdered last December 2012.

Wei-Wei entered Botolan, Zambales in 2005 via rush approval by the Arroyo admin. It came right after president Gloria Arroyo allowed China illegally to explore Philippine waters, under a secret, treasonous Joint Seismic Marine Undertaking. Wei-Wei later barged into Sta. Cruz, Masinloc and Infanta.

Jiangxi joined with a Nihao Minerals subsidiary. Filipino officers of Nihao and affiliate Geograce Resources were involved in the illegal grant to ZTE International Corp. in 2005 of mining rights in the gold rush area of Mount Diwalwal, Compostela Valley.

(Published in the book Gotcha: An Exposé on the Philippine Government. Available in e-book and paperback from Amazon.com or 8lettersbooks.com)

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Catch Sapol radio show, Saturdays, 8 to 10 a.m., DWIZ (882-AM).

Follow me on Facebook: https://tinyurl.com/Jarius-Bondoc

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