Capitol: No more Cebu dolomite for Manila Bay
CEBU CITY, Philippines — No more crushed dolomite from Cebu will go to Manila for the rehabilitation of Manila Bay.
Cebu Governor Gwendolyn Garcia issued a cease and desist order on Tuesday, September 8, 2020, against a mining company and a mineral processing firm in Alcoy town, prohibiting the two entities from “further extracting, processing, selling, and transporting dolomite, associated mineral deposits, and other quarry resources.”
The order came following the white sand controversy wherein the 3,500 metric tons of crushed dolomite from the southern Cebu town were used for the white makeover of Manila Bay.
Environmental groups rang the alarm that the move would be destructive not only to Manila Bay but also to the area in Cebu where the minerals were sourced from.
In her executive order directing for the immediate stop of the operations of the two firms, Garcia invoked a 2010 administrative order of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), which give LGUs the role to ensure that relevant laws on public notice, public consultation, and public participation are complied with.
In the case of the transport of the minerals from Cebu to Manila, the Capitol said neither the provincial government nor the municipality of Alcoy were informed that dolomites were being used for the Manila Bay project.
Although large scale mining operations are governed by the Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB), an attached agency of the DENR, the governor said in the EO that the provincial government still possesses the power to inquire into the correctness of the procedure and manner of the extractive project.
Garcia and other Capitol officials, and representatives of the Mines and Geosciences Bureau in Central Visayas (MGB-7) and the mining firms, sat down in a meeting with Garcia on Tuesday morning.
Board Member John Ismael Borgonia, chairman of the Provincial Board’s Committee on Environmental Conservation and Natural Resources, said they found in the meeting that there was not only 3,500 WMT of dolomites that were issued with an ore transport permits by the MGB but two batches of OTP with 3,500 WMT of dolomite each or a total of 7,000 WMT.
Borgonia added that the extraction of the dolomite in the town lacked an environmental impact study despite that the area where the dolomite was extracted from is located in an environmentally critical area. Alcoy is declared as the habitat of the endangered bird black shama, locally known as Siloy, that is endemic in Cebu.
The official added that during the meeting, Governor Garcia has warned MGB to no longer issue any OTP in relation to the project, otherwise the province will resort to legal remedies against the agency. /bmjo
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