ZAMBOANGA CITY (MindaNews/24 June) – Zamboanga port manager Leonilo Miole of the Philippine Ports Authority disclosed that there are at least 30 wharves operating illegally in this city.
Miole, team leader of Task Force Pantalan, made the announcement after the task force completed the inventory of all government and private wharves here.
He said most of these illegal wharves are located in the eastern coast.
He said they noted during the inspection that most of the wharves, classified as finger or mini wharves, were constructed for the convenience of coastal communities.
But Miole clarified that constructing a port needs a permit from the PPA and the city government as well as a foreshore lease agreement with the Department of Environment and Natural Resources.
He said they had already submitted the findings to Mayor Celso Lobregat, who ordered the creation of Task Force Pantalan, for appropriate action.
Lobregat issued Executive Order CL-383-2011 on January 17, 2011 to check on the proliferation of illegal ports or finger wharves as these could be are used as staging areas for activities like human trafficking, illegal trade of marine products and other prohibited items.
The members of the task force came from the local government, Navy, Coast Guard, police DENR and other agencies.
Aside from the conduct of the inventory, the task force was also tasked to recommend for the immediate demolition of illegal piers/finger wharves where warranted, filing of appropriate cases against violators who would not demolish the structures, and measures that will ensure the violations would not happen again.
Lobregat is set to meet the task force to determine the action to be taken against the existence of illegally constructed wharves. (MindaNews)