Sen. Bam: Inagaw na nga ang ating isla, pati buhangin gusto pang angkinin
Re-electionist Sen. Bam Aquino stressed the need to probe the entry of an African-flagged dredging ship with Chinese crew in Lobo River in Batangas, saying the incident is a clear encroachment of the country’s internal seas.
“Inagaw na nga nila ang mga isla natin, pati ba naman buhangin, gusto pa nlang angkinin,” said Sen. Bam, referring to a report that the sand that will be extracted from the Lobo River will be used for the expansion of the Hong Kong airport.
“Nakakaalarma ang insidenteng ito dahil malinaw na ito’y panghihimasok na sa karagatang sakop ng Pilipinas,” Sen. Bam pointed out, adding that he plans to file a resolution investigating the matter.
MV Emerald, a Sierra Leone-flagged dredging ship, managed to get an environmental compliance certificate (ECC) through a Filipino firm to operate before it was suspended recently by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR).
However, the ship lacked a permit to operate and a permit to transport from the Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB) and a permit to dredge from the local government of Lobo, Batangas.
Sen. Bam suggested that the ship is only a Trojan Horse, pretending to undertake a normal business operation for siltation removal, but its main agenda is to take sand from the country’s waters to be used for other purposes.
“Hindi natin dapat palampasin ang insidenteng ito at dapat alamin kung sinu-sino ang nasa likod nito at kung bakit ito hinayaang makapasok sa bansa nang ganun-ganun na lang,” said Sen. Bam.
In addition, Sen. Bam underscore the need to protect the area, known in the global scientific community as Verde Island Passage, since it is considered as the center of the center of marine shore fish biodiversity in the world, with 60 percent of the world’s shore fish species live in these waters between Batangas and Mindoro.
“Magpakita sana ng puwersa ang ating mga awtoridad para malaman ng buong mundo na hindi tayo magpapabraso sa mga nais magnakaw ng ating likas na yaman,” Sen. Bam added.