The Philippines’ Department of Public Works and Highways last Friday released a statement regarding recent allegations that the DPWH has issued dredging permits to the 13 sea vessels doing offshore dredging or mining activities in the vicinity of Puro, Caoayan, Ilocos Sur.
According to Secretary of Public Works and Highways, Mr. Rogelio Singson, “the Department did not issue any dredging permit to any entity or contractor for the offshore dredging activities in Ilocos Sur.”
“Issuance of offshore dredging or mining permits is not within the mandate of the Department of Public Works and Highways,” said Mr. Singson.
In a letter to Secretary Singson, National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) Director Virgilio Mendez informed the former that non-government organizations headed by Fr. Albert Rabe and Sister Lilian Carranza of the Archdiocese of Nueva Segovia were requesting the DPWH to immediately cancel the dredging permits allegedly issued by the DPWH to the 13 sea vessels undertaking dredging activities in the Ilocos Sur town.
“The DPWH’s mandate covers the dredging of inland channels and waterways such as rivers, esteros, creeks, canals, lakes, etc. which are being done by contract or by administration,” said Singson.
Singson added that it is also the standard protocol for the DPWH to coordinate with the concerned local government units (LGUs) of any dredging activity in their areas, and in most cases, dredging with any LGU is covered by a memorandum of agreement.
DPWH Region 1 Director Melanio Briosos however reported that in compliance to the request of NBI-Vigan City, DPWH has only provided assistance in hauling the processed magnetite sand materials back into the sea.
According to Briosos, about 36,000 metric tons of dredged materials were scattered back along the shoreline in Caoayan.
Press Release, July 14, 2014