MASINLOC, Zambales – The Sangguniang Bayan (SB) on Friday sought for an investigation on the prolonged stay of at least 12 foreign dredging ships within the municipal waters for fear that these are destroying the marine-protected area here.
The municipal council’s call was based on a resolution passed on Feb. 17, 2020. They asked Governor Hermogenes Ebdane Jr.’s intervention to determine if the vessels have the necessary permits to anchor along the town’s shoreline.
Based on the list of the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG), some of these foreign-flag ships arrived here between February and December last year, three of which are Chinese-flag dredging vessels berthed at a local pier since January this year.
The municipal council said the vessels are posing threats to the Masinloc-Oyon Bay Protected Landscape and Seascape declared as a protected area under the Republic Act 11038 or the E-Nipas Act.
Last year, Mayor Arsenia Lim had already informed the Philippine Ports Authority (PPA) about the ships’ prolonged stay with the municipal waters.
But she said the PPA officials informed her that the vessels have
submitted necessary documents and are allowed to dock here.
Lim, however, said since the ships are berthed at a marine-protected area, there must be necessary permits from the Protected Area Management Board (PAMB) of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR).
“I’ve been asking the concerned agencies to check whether these vessels are violating our marine pollution law,” Lim said in a statement.
She said the lengthy stay of the ships continued to baffle them, causing them to question how the vessels dispose of their used oil and solid wastes.
“I will do everything to appease our constituents who are worried about the presence of these foreign ships within our protected marine areas,” she said.
Lim added that she would not allow the foreign-flag ships to destroy the town’s marine resources. (PNA)