Sarangani port officers under fire for release of Malaysian barge

Edwin G. Espejo

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Glan Mayor Victor James Yap is set to file charges against Philippine Ports Authority officers who allowed a Malaysian barge with a pending case leave the town's port

ILLEGALLY RELEASED? A Malaysian barge charged for dumping waste in Sarangani Bay was released by port authority officers. Photo by Edwin Espejo

GENERAL SANTOS CITY, Philippines – Mayor Victor James Yap of Glan town said he would file charges against Philippine Ports Authority (PPA) officers who allowed a Malaysian barge and a tugboat to leave the town’s port despite a pending case against their owner and crew.

In June 2012, DB Oceania 2 and tugboat TB Oceania 1 were held under administrative custody after these were caught dumping waste material in Sarangani Bay off the coast of Kapatan in Glan.

According to the Sarangani information office, which captured the dumping on camera, the vessels anchored some 300 meters off Kapatan early morning of May 26, 2012 and started flushing out coal debris.

The municipal water of Kapatan is within the 215,000-hectare Sarangani Bay Protected Seascape.

The Sarangani provincial government immediately placed the two vessels under custody before turning them over to the local government of Glan.

Yap said records indicated that the PPA office in Glan allowed the two vessels to leave after paying P1,350,818.30 docking and other fees while they were moored at the Glan wharf.

The mayor fumed when he was told that PPA officers in the province did not know a case was filed against the owner and crew.

The Glan provincial government is seeking damages from the owner of the vessels – Malaysian firm Woodman Miri Sarawak.

Yap said the barge and the tugboat are already in Malaysia and now out of the jurisdiction of the Philippine government.

The mayor said the release papers were signed, but it was not clear who signed the documents. But once identified, he said these officials would be charged before the Office of the Ombudsman in Mindanao.

In 2011, Sarangani was able to collect P20 million compensation from the owners of MV Double Prosperity, which destroyed 4 hectares of coral when it ran aground Bacud Reef in Kiamba. –

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