Statement on increased number of Chinese dredging ships in Zambales

The increased presence of Chinese dredging vessels operating in Zambales province is a matter of serious concern. The authorities claim that the purpose is to rehabilitate the heavily silted river channels and prevent flooding, but recent news reports suggest otherwise. These vessels are extracting sand from our rivers and transporting it to the reclamation areas.

This situation brings up a few critical concerns. The activities that are happening could have a significant impact on the lives of the residents of Zambales who rely on fishing. The ongoing dredging activities may disturb the overall balance of the ecosystem; therefore, we must take into consideration the long-term effects of these actions. Our natural resources need to be protected.

I am urging our relevant agencies to shed light on this issue. Additionally, I intend to initiate a Senate inquiry to further examine this matter, as it directly affects our national interests, livelihoods, and environment. Our top priorities should be protecting our sovereignty, ensuring the well-being of our environment, and promoting the welfare of our people.