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Captain in hot water for Bantayan dredging

First Posted 07:48:00 05/31/2010

Charges may be filed against a ship captain arrested last Saturday by police for spearheading the extraction and shipment of white sand in the port area of Sta. Fe, Bantayan Island.

The Department of Environment and Natural Resources in Central Visayas (DENR-7) said the ship captain of MV Hamako 2, identified as Ramon Trazo was arrested for failing to present the permits to extract and ship the white sand from the Sta. Fe port area.

Trazo was told to stop extracting the sand through a cease and desist order issued by the DENR last week.

The same order was issued by DENR to the Cebu Port Authority (CPA) for the dredging activities near the port area.

DENR-7 Regional Director Leonard Sibbaluca said he suspects the dredging is a cover to allow extraction of white sand to be used for the construction business.

Sibbaluca said he reminded Trazo that a cease and desist order was issued to the CPA.

He said Trazo's group stopped their operations but he was informed that the group resumed dredging while he was headed to Cebu City last Saturday.

Sibbaluca said he called the Sta. Fe police to arrest Trazo.

?They got white sand in the guise of dredging. They could not present the necessary permits. They don't even have a Protected Area Management Board (PAMB) resolution. We will file a case tomorrow (Monday) for theft of mineral resources,? Sibaluca told CEBU DAILY NEWS.

Bantayan island is covered by both Presidential Proclamation No. 2151 of 1981 which classified it as a protected area and Presidential Proclamation No. 1234 declaring Tanon Strait a protected seascape.

Protected Area Superintendent Vicente Calizar said they scheduled a technical conference with CPA, the Sta. Fe municipal government and DENR to discuss the port project tomorrow.

Sibbaluca said Sta. Fe Mayor Jennifer Illustrisimo already complained about the dredging to the DENR.

?The Tanon Strait is considered a protected area but why is the sand being shipped outside? That is the main question. Why,? Sibaluca said.

Trazo told Calizar that the sand is being shipped to Hagnaya or Tayud, Lilo-an town. Calizar said they still had to verify Trazo's statement.

In shipping sand and other minerals, the ship captain or the driver should procure permits from the local government unit (LGU) for small scale extraction or from the DENR for big scale extraction.

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