An official of the firm hired by the Sagay City government to dredge the mouths of two rivers, which also has a permit to extract magnetite at the same time, yesterday said they have received threats from the New People’s Army.
“We have received threats and extortion letters from ‘people up there’ that is why we had to hire blue guards to secure our magnetite processing plant and equipment,” Albert Golez, managing director of the ASPAC Dredging and Restoration Inc., said.
Complaints have been circulating in the Old Sagay area about offshore mining operations and of armed guards in Sitio Looc where ASPAC’s plant is located, who have been driving people away from the site. A position paper of those opposed to it is reportedly being circulated for signature.
Sagay Mayor Rafael Leo Cueva said Wednesday that the dredging firm was hired by the city to clear the mouths of the Himoga-an and Tan-ao rivers of silt. He said he was not aware of any mining activity going on.
Golez yesterday denied that his firm was engaged in offshore mining, saying they were merely extracting the magnetite or iron ore concentrate that is a major component of steel, from the materials they dredged.
The magnetite processing plant and equipment of ASPAC for the dredging are located on a 5.8-hectare property the firm had been renting since April from Mardal Corp. of the Sarrosa family, represented by Michael Sarrosa, Golez said.
Golez gave the explanation amid allegations that the magnetite processing plant belongs to relatives of Negros Occidental Gov. Alfredo Marañon and Mayor Cueva, who is his nephew.