Garcia: CDO covers only transport, selling of dolomite in local market
CEBU CITY, Philippines —Governor Gwendolyn Garcia has clarified that the cease and desist order (CDO), which she issued against a mining firm and a mineral processing company in Alcoy town, would not altogether cancel the entire operations of the two firms.
In a press conference on Thursday afternoon, Garcia said the subject of her executive order was to stop the issuance of ore transport permits for three other dolomite shipments from Alcoy, Cebu to Manila.
Governor Gwendolyn Garcia earlier issued a cease and desist order against a dolomite mining firm and a mineral processing company for the latter to stop from “further extracting, processing, selling, and transporting dolomite, associated mineral deposits, and other quarry resources.”
Garcia said that two earlier other shipments containing 3,500 wet metric tons or a total of 7,000 WMT 0f the minerals for the Manila Bay project were already completed before the dolomite controversy and the white makeover of Manila Bay broke out.
What would not be covered by the EO, Garcia said, would be the operations of the mining company and mineral processor under its mineral production sharing agreement (MPSA) with the Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB).
According to Garcia, the 25-year MPSA of the firm was specifically for the extraction and exportation of dolomite as an ingredient to the production of glass and steel, among others.
However, the governor said the firms started to extract the dolomites and sell it as a substitute to sand and gravel in local markets.
Garcia said the company had no permit to engage in such transactions under its MPSA.
The governor also said the Capitol had repeatedly called out the mining firm since her assumption in office in 2019 for the selling of the crushed dolomite outside what was prescribed in the MPSAs.
Provincial Treasurer Roy Salubre, who also attended the press conference, said the Capitol had since demanded the processing firm in Alcoy to obtain a waste disposal permit but to no avail.
Without obtaining a waste disposal permit, Garcia said the processing firm had not remitted the supposed share of the proceeds from the dolomites sold in the local market as a substitute to sand and gravel to the host barangay and municipality.
Aside from the claims of shares from the proceeds of the dolomites sold in the local market, the Capitol officials also said they were concerned about the environmental impact of the extraction of the dolomites outside what was specified in their MPSAs.
Environmental lawyer and Capitol Consultant Benjamin Cabrido said there had been a spike in the volume of extraction of dolomite in Alcoy following the sale of the dolomites as a substitute to sand and gravel.
This spike in extraction, the lawyer said, might not have been covered by the firms’ environmental rehabilitation plan which it is supposed to carry out after its 25-year-MPSA since the volume of extraction of the minerals throughout the 25-year-span of the agreement had already been specified prior to its commencement.
Cabrido added that it would also be worth noting if the companies had covered the “extra” extraction in their annual environmental protection and enhancement program (EPEP).
“I do not want another Naga landslide nga mo-react na lang ta kung naa nay mga kinabuhi nga nakalas,” Garcia said as she cited the need to have a “proactive” response to the dolomite controversy which had since caught the national attention following the reported use of the minerals in Manila Bay.
Garcia was pertaining to the massive landslide in September 2018 which resulted to over 70 people dead and thousands left homeless for several months.
On Thursday, September 10, personnel from the Provincial Environment and Natural Resources Office (PENRO) were deployed to the extraction site in Alcoy for aerial inspection.
Penro Chief Rodel Bontuyan told CDN Digital said the survey in the area would be part of their recommendation for actions to the Office of the Governor./dbs
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