ZAMBALES, Philippines (UPDATED) – Police on Wednesday, September 12, arrested 7 undocumented Chinese workers who were reportedly part of an illegal dredging project in Masinloc town.
In a report, Masinloc acting police commander Major Jude Bryan Maguddayao said the Chinese workers failed to present their visas, working permits, and other necessary documents.
The illegal foreign workers were identified as Shao Shao Chen, Shinu Chen, Xie Yu Hong, Xiu Xiansheng, Zhao Yihung, Gong Yaan, and Jiang Xin.
They were apprehended inside two dredging boats that were found along the municipal shoreline.
It was not immediately known who hired the Chinese or if they have Filipino companions.
The foreigners were placed in the custody of the Bureau of Immigration for proper documentation and disposition.
LGU did its part
Masinclo Mayor Arsenia Jalata Lim said on Friday, September 13, that she had alerted the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) and the Philippine Ports Authority (PPA) about the presence of suspicious dredging ships anchored on the town’s coastline.
Lim said she had written the PCG and PPA as early as March 14, asking the two agencies to investigate the dredging ships found along the municipal shoreline.
According to Lim, the PPA replied and told her that the dredging ships submitted necessary documents and were given permits by the Maritime Industry Authority (Marina).
The mayor said the PCG also responded by telling her that they had inspected the ships and confirmed that these were dredging vessels.
Lim said she was informed that the vessels would not carry out dredging activities in Masincloc but were only moored while waiting for other documents.
She said she would not allow destructive and illegal dredging operations in Masinloc since seaweed production is one of the main sources of livelihood in the town.
Lim also said they have been protecting the sea from destructive fishing and other activities since they have 4 fish sanctuaries in the municipal waters, and the town is known for its endangered giant clams.
She said an investigation into the incident was already underway. – Rappler.com