Celso forms task force to inventory local ports PDF Print E-mail
Friday, 04 February 2011 14:10

The proliferation of illegal construction of piers or finger wharves in the coastal areas of the city has prompted the creation of a task force intended to conduct an impartial and actual inventory of all illegal piers facilities.

The creation of the task force is formalized through Executive Order 383-2011 issued by Mayor Lobregat on January 17, 2011 outlining the duties and functions of the task force.

The task force is composed of Mayor Lobregat, City Administrator Antonio Orendain Jr., Philippine Ports Authority regional director Leonilo Miole, Philippine Navy Commander Comm. Orwen Cortez, Philippine Coast Guard District Commander Rodolfo Isorena and PNP Maritime chief P/SSupt. Eduardo Garado including representatives from the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), City Environment and Natural Resources Office (CENRO-West and East), Provincial Environment and Natural Resources Office (PENRO) and Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatics Resources (BFAR, Maritime Industry Authority (MARINA) and several other concerned agencies.   

Miole, whose office is mandated to oversee the operation of piers or wharves, is designated as team leader of the Task force.

Aside from the conduct of the inventory, the task force, under the mayor’s EO is also tasked to recommend for the immediate demolition of illegal piers/ finger wharves when warranted; recommend the filing of appropriate suit in Court against the violators when these violators do not voluntarily demolish the same and recommend other measures that will appropriately address non-repetition of the violations cited by the report of the task force.

The task force yesterday met at the PPA conference room to discuss initial findings and decided to expand the membership of the special body as the coverage will include not only commercial ports but also fishing ports and private ports that serve as docking or berthing place for fishing vessels.
“It really shows that we have to take this issue very seriously because we want to make sure that there are no criminal elements coming in and out of these ports”, Mayor Lobregat said in an interview after the meeting.

The mayor said there is need to check on the illegally constructed piers and finger wharves considering the alleged reports about contraband items and even criminal elements entering the city through these facilities.

Reports also show that these piers and finger wharves do t have the required permits to operate from the PPA, which is tasked to oversee the construction and operation of these facilities, according to the mayor.

“We will have to enforce the law”, the mayor declared adding that any and all operator of ports or finger wharves should have acquired the permit to construct the facilities and all to other requirements from concerned agencies.

He added that foreshore lease agreements or even miscellaneous lease applications are different from construction permits. “Many times what they show is the miscellaneous lease application but no permit to construction and they say it is in process but it is not. This is really a security concern and also a concern on regulation or regulating the operation of ports”.

The creation of the Task force was a result of a meeting sometime December when issues about security and the city’s wide, long and porous boarder; security at the port as well as the existence of numerous private ports in the city were discussed.

Also present during the meeting yesterday were Councilors Jaime Cabato and Nonong Guingona, City Administrator Orendain, City Planning Officer Melinda Cabato, City Environment and Natural Resources Officer Rey Gonzales, City police OIC director Col. Edwin de Ocampo, Task Force Zamboanga Chief Col. Buenaventura Pascual and representatives from different national agencies. — Sheila Covarrubias