Corals in Alcoy destroyed by heavy siltation from fallen crushed dolomites — Penro
CEBU CITY, Philippines —The Provincial Environment and Natural Resources Office (Penro) found that corals within the 500 meters of seawater in Alcoy town southern Cebu were destroyed because of heavy siltation caused by crushed dolomites that fell to the sea when being transported to the bulk carrier vessel through a conveyor belt.
The Penro recently conducted an aerial survey in the dolomite extraction in Alcoy following the controversy of the transport of dolomite from Alcoy to Manila for the rehabilitation project of Manila Bay.
The Capitol has since disallowed further extraction, selling, and transport of dolomite locally which is beyond the provisions of its mineral production sharing agreement (MPSA) issued by the Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB).
“An inspection of the seabed in barangay Pugalo, Alcoy showed heavy siltation and damage to the area’s marine ecosystem, raising the possibility of the issuance of another cease and desist order against the mining firms,” the Capitol said in a news release.
In a meeting last Thursday, September 17, 2020, Governor Gwendolyn Garcia asked the Environmental Management Bureau to investigate the said destruction of the corals following the aerial photos and videos from the inspection showed the damage on the corals.
The meeting was attended by representatives of the EMB, Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), the mining firm, and the mineral processing company that operates in Alcoy.
“Penro found that particles from the crushed dolomite fall to the sea when transported to the bulk carrier vessels through a conveyor belt. Initial reports indicated that corals were destroyed within 500 meters of seawater because of heavy siltation, causing the corals and the seabed to turn white,” the Capitol added.
Garcia earlier issued a cease and desist order to the two firms for selling the dolomite as a substitute for sand and gravel in the domestic market without securing the necessary permits from the Capitol and paying for the sold dolomites according to the tax code of the province.
Garcia reiterated that the province was not against the Manila Bay beach nourishment project but of the means that the dolomites used there were taken from the province without the firms paying the 10 percent sharing of the province of the market value of the quarry resource.
Prior to the issuance of the CDO, the firms already transported 7,000 wet metric tons (WMT) of crushed dolomites for the Manila Bay project, according to the ore transport permits issued by the MGB-7.
Provincial Treasurer Roy Salubre said the two firms, based on their initial computation, would have to pay P726,923.077 to the province for the volume of dolomite shipped to Manila./dbs
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