No irregularity found in ‘dredging vessel’ off Iligan Bay

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ILIGAN CITY — The local government here said no illegal activity is being conducted by a barge that has remained anchored off Iligan Bay for three weeks now.

The City Environment and Management Office (CEMO) said this was the result of Tuesday’s inspection on the vessel. 

The inspection was conducted by the CEMO together with the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG), Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB), and the Environment and Natural Resources (DENR).

On Monday, City Administrator Leo Zaragoza said the local government requested the MGB to check on the barge named “Manila” after a resident reported that it has been extracting sand from the waters of Iligan Bay.

Richard Lim, a local businessman, said it was first spotted a few kilometers from his resort two weeks ago.

Last week, the barge moved to the waters off Barangay Sta. Filomena waters, causing alarm among residents who thought it was dredging sand.

“I am worried because if it is true that it extracts sand from the bottom of the sea, our white sand might be depleted,” said a resident who did not want to be identified.

Sta. Filomena barangay councilor Josephus Villaroya said that during the local government’s inspection, it was discovered that the vessel had mechanical problems. Its crew, he said, was only waiting for a tug boat to bring it back to Zambales.

“It is not clear where it is coming from and why it has been anchored in Iligan Bay,” Villaroya added

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