Residents of Barangay Kalaklan in Olongapo City reported illegal extraction and exportation of sands from the mouth of Sta. Rita River to Environment Secretary Roy Cimatu on Dec. 23.
Kalaklan residents, in their letter to Cimatu, accused a local contractor of theft of minerals along with a Singaporean company that allegedly bought the sand.
The contractor was accused of undertaking the illegal extraction of sands and loading onto big bulk-cargo foreign vessels for export. The buyer, reportedly a Singaporean company, was not named.
According to residents, the local contractor started dredging in the first week of December. The residents said they monitored the departure of one big vessel at around 12 midnight of Dec. 16 carrying thousands of metric tons of extracted sands and the arrival of a second vessel a few days after.
Kalaklan residents said the local contractor was awarded a contract by the Public Works Department Region III to dredge and desilt the river mouth in Kalaklan of 729,893 cubic meters of silt and unsuitable materials at the cost of P54,741,975.
The residents said instead of disposing the extracted unsuitable materials, the company loaded it aboard a big cargo ship for export. The vessel was reported discharging in Hong Kong, the residents said in the letter.