House probe on Chinese dredging ships conducting illegal activities in PH sought
MANILA, Philippines — The Makabayan bloc in the House of Representatives is seeking an investigation on the proliferation of Chinese ships reportedly conducting illegal dredging activities in the country.
House Resolution No. 1258, filed on Monday, directs the House committee on natural resources to conduct the said investigation after the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) and the Bureau of Customs (BOC) recently seized a Chinese dredger for “illegal and unauthorized presence” in Philippine waters.
The resolution was filed by the Makabayan bloc composed of Bayan Muna Reps. Carlos Zarate, Ferdinand Gaite, and Eufemia Cullamat; ACT Teachers Partylist Rep. France Castro; Gabriela Women’s Party Rep. Arlene Brosas; and Kabataan Partylist Rep. Sarah Elago.
“This incident is not the first time when Chinese-manned dredging ships were caught conducting illegal activities in the Philippines. Since 2017, there are several reports of illegal Chinese dredging activities in different parts of the country,” the Makabayan lawmakers said in the resolution.
“Residents near the areas repeatedly raised alarms over these activities as these cause adverse environmental effects and negatively impact to their livelihood. Moreover, there are reports saying that the dredged materials from these illegal Chinese operations are being used in the creation of artificial islands in the West Philippine Sea,” they added.
The lawmakers cited several cases related to illegal dredging operations in the country involving Chinese ships and workers.
One of the cases cited by the lawmakers was the September 2019 arrest of seven undocumented Chinese workers found to be involved in an illegal dredging operation in Masinloc town in Zambales.
“There are growing apprehensions that more undetected illegal Chinese dredging ships are still operating in different parts of the Philippines that continue to cause environmental destruction and adverse effects to the people and the environment,” the lawmakers said.
“The proliferation of these illegal dredging activities is also seen as part of the worsening Chinese aggression in the West Philippine Sea, which disrespects the country’s sovereignty and territorial integrity. It is the duty of the State and all its instrumentalities to protect the country and its people from external threats such as these illegal foreign operations,” they added.
Further, the lawmakers said it is the duty of Congress “to ensure that the country’s sovereignty and territorial integrity are intact, local and international laws be honored and recognized, and more importantly, the safety and economic rights of the people are protected and ensured.”
“It is also the duty of Congress and all patriotic Filipinos to condemn these illegal activities and defend our territories from foreign dominance and intrusion,” the lawmakers said.
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.