“We 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 DPWH Secretary Rogelio L. Singson.
Secretary Singson has issued this clarification due to reports that DPWH allegedly has issued dredging permits to the thirteen (13) sea vessels doing offshore dredging or mining activities in the vicinity of Puro, Caoayan, Ilocos Sur.
In a letter to DPWH Secretary Singson, National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) Director Virgilio L. Mendez informed that the NGOs headed by Fr. Albert Rabe and Sister Lilian Carranza of the Archdiocese of Nueva Segovia were requesting DPWH to immediately cancel the dredging permits allegedly issued by DPWH to the 13 sea vessels undertaking dredging activities in the Caoayan, Ilocos Sur.
“Offshore dredging or mining is not our responsibility, “Singson reiterated.
The DPWH’s mandate is dredging of inland channels and watersways 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 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 (MOA).
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 dredge materials were scattered back along the shoreline in Caoayan, Ilocos Sur.