More crushed dolomite rocks from Cebu to be shipped to Manila Bay shores
CEBU CITY –– More crushed dolomite rocks from Alcoy town, south Cebu are set to be shipped out to give the shores of Manila Bay a white sand beach appearance.
But Cebu Gov. Gwendolyn Garcia said the province would do its best to stop the transport of 10,500 wet metric tons of dolomites supposedly to cover a 500-meter stretch of the shore.
In a press conference on Thursday afternoon, Garcia said the cease-and-desist order she issued against Dolomite Mining Corporation (DMC) and that of the Philippine Mining Services Corporation (PMSC) was meant to stop the shipment of the synthetic fine sand to Manila.
The governor has sent the Provincial Environment and Natural Resources Office in Alcoy to conduct an ocular inspection of the mining site.
The inspection is part of the investigation launched by the provincial government following the transport of 3,500 wet metric tons of crushed dolomite rocks for the aesthetic transformation of Manila Bay.
Garcia threatened to sue all those involved in the mining of dolomite rocks in Alcoy.
The Mines and Geosciences Bureau in Central Visayas (MGB-7) earlier issued two Ore Transportation Permits (OTPs) to PMSC authorizing the shipment of dolomites to Manila valued at P1.64 million.
Three OTPs are pending before MGB-7.
Garcia clarified that she did not stop the operations of the DMC and PMSC, whose activities in Alcoy were covered under a Mineral Production Sharing Agreement (MPSA) with the government for 25 years.
She said she only wanted to stop the domestic sale of dolomite rocks made by the two sister mining companies which are not covered by the MPSA.
“So Usec. (Benny) Antiporda, it is not the system of the province that sucks. It is how PMSC going beyond what was allowed under MPSA issued,” Garcia said in reaction to statements of the environment officials in Manila.
Garcia said she would issue a clarificatory executive order which would specifically stop the operations of DMC and PMSC done outside the program stipulated in the MPSA and the government.
The MPSA, she said, specifically detailed the export of the dolomite extracted in Alcoy town to Japan and South Korea with specific years and volume of minerals to be extracted from a specific area.
She suspected that the domestic sale of dolomite triggered the quarrying of more minerals than what was stated under the MPSA.
The Capitol, Garcia said, is investigating the volume of extracted dolomite outside the agreement.
Since the activities on the domestic sale of dolomite are outside the MPSA, she said the quarrying does not have an assessment on its impact on the environment in Alcoy, which is a critical area because it is the natural habitat of the endangered and endemic siloy birds or the Cebu Black Shama.
Garcia said the provincial government, the Municipality of Alcoy, and the barangays were deprived of its share of the profits from its natural resources since the domestic sale is outside the MPSA.
The governor said she already knew of the domestic sale of dolomites since August 2019 after she assumed office and issued a memorandum to stop all quarrying activities in the entire island of Cebu.
Last week, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) started pouring ”white sand” on a 500-meter stretch of Manila Bay’s naturally gray shoreline as part of the rehabilitation program launched by Environment Secretary Roy Cimatu in January 2019 to save the bay from decades of pollution and urban blight.