Posted on December 22, 2020
Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, December 17) — While contractors who will conduct free dredging operations along Cagayan River may sell the sand they retrieve, it comes with conditions.
During a virtual briefing on Thursday, Environment Secretary Roy Cimatu explained this is part of the agreement the provincial governor will strike with contractors, who must first and foremost secure papers such as clearances and the authority to transport.
“Kasama po iyan, mag-dredge sila for free, [This agreement includes them doing the dredging for free] then they get the sand to sell it but they have to pay excise tax to the government,” he explained. “Four percent po ang ibabayad nila [is how much they shall pay].”
Earlier this year, two mining firms in Cebu drew the ire of Governor Gwendolyn Garcia in connection with the dolomite, also known as Manila Bay’s “white sand,” they retrieved from the province’s shoreline. Among the governor’s concerns was the supposed failure of these companies to pay local taxes in relation to their mining activity.
Cimatu added the places where contractors intend to deliver the acquired sand must also be specifically stated in their contract along with restricted areas.
“Mayroon namang kasulatan diyan na dapat hindi pupunta yung mga nakuha nilang sand in some places,” said Cimatu, citing the West Philippine Sea and the Scarborough Shoal for instance.
[Translation: There shall be a written agreement stating the sand they acquired must not be brought to some places.]
Dredging is among the activities the government has in place in line with its bid to fast-track the execution of flood management operations following intense floods in areas like Cagayan and Marikina City due to back-to-back typhoons in November.
CNN Philippines correspondent in Cebu Dale Israel contributed to this report.