Posted on November 27, 2023
Harbor Star Shipping Services Inc. (TUGS) has committed to rehabilitate the Bislak River in cooperation with the Provincial Government of Ilocos Norte.
TUGS and the provincial government signed a memorandum of agreement (MOA) to formalize the partnership alongside the groundbreaking ceremony on Nov. 22 in Barangay Buyon, Bacarra, Ilocos Norte.
In a disclosure to the Philippine Stock Exchange (PSE), the agreement includes the river restoration initiative that will “span a 1.5 kilometer length of the river mouth and navigation access.”
It will also cover a “26 kilometer stretch of the Bislak River Dredging Zone, encompassing five dredging sites.”
The disclosure noted that the provincial government has “issued the requisite Notice of Award, Notice to Proceed, and Permit to Operate, authorizing dredging operations for 10 years, from Nov. 22, 2023 to Nov. 21, 2033.”
TUGS offers dredging services of ports and terminals through its Diving, Marine Maintenance, and Construction department.
Notably, it is undergoing a dredging project at the DMPTI Port in Davao City.
The sealed partnership adheres to Administrative Order No. 2020-07 of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), which requires only registered companies with technical and financial capacities for large-scale flood control operations may apply for a dredging clearance with the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH).
The order also states that private contractors will cover all expenses of dredging operations in river dredging zones (RDZ) identified by the local governments.
The DENR notes that as private companies shoulder the costs, the firms are allowed to get minerals it may recover during the operations, “provided it pays the required national and local taxes.”