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DPWH: No hand in Ilocos Sur offshore dredging permits

Evelyn Macairan (The Philippine Star) - July 13, 2014 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines - You are barking up the wrong tree.

The Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) has given this message to those asking it to cancel the dredging permits issued to 13 vessels doing offshore dredging in Caoayan, Ilocos Sur.

In a statement Friday, DPWH Secretary Rogelio Singson said the issuance of offshore dredging or mining permits “is not within the mandate” of his department. 

In a letter last June 10, National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) director Virgilio Mendez told Singson that Fr. Albert Rabe and Sister Lilian Carranza of the Archdiocese of Nueva Segovia in Vigan, Ilocos Sur had disclosed that for several years, 13 vessels have been engaged in offshore dredging in Puro, Caoayan town, which they said endangers the lives, livelihood and property of the locals.

Rabe and Carranza were asking the DPWH to cancel the dredging permits.

But Singson clarified that offshore dredging or mining is not his agency’s responsibility, as its mandate concerns the dredging of inland channels and waterways such as rivers, creeks, canals, and lakes being done by the government or contractors. 

It is also the standard protocol for DPWH to coordinate with the concerned local government units of any dredging, and in most cases, a memorandum of agreement is signed.

In compliance with the request of NBI-Vigan City, DPWH Region 1 director Melanio Briosos reported that they only provided assistance in hauling the processed magnetite back into the sea.

Briosos said dredged materials, amounting to some 36,000 metric tons, were scattered back along the shoreline in Caoayan town.

ALBERT RABE AND SISTER LILIAN CARRANZA OF THE ARCHDIOCESE OF NUEVA SEGOVIA BUT SINGSON CAOAYAN DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC WORKS AND HIGHWAYS DREDGING ILOCOS SUR MELANIO BRIOSOS NATIONAL BUREAU OF INVESTIGATION RABE AND CARRANZA SECRETARY ROGELIO SINGSON VIGAN CITY
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