THE Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB) 7 issued permits to allow the transport of 3,000 metric tons of processed dolomite, or “white sand,” that was dumped on the shoreline of the Manila Bay earlier this week.
MGB 7 Director Loreto Alburo, in a statement, said the dolomite came from the Dolomite Mining Corp. (DMC) in Barangay Pugalo in the southern town of Alcoy, Cebu.
Alburo said they issued an ore transport permit to the Philippine Mining Service Corp. (PMSC), which processes the dolomite from DMC’s mines, for the transport of 3,500 metric tons of processed dolomite to the capital.
Alburo said DMC has a mineral production sharing agreement with the government to mine the area for 25 years or until 2030.
The PMSC plant in Alcoy also has a mineral processing permit that will expire in 2023.
“The dolomite materials sourced from Cebu have been extracted, produced and shipped out to various buyers following proper regulatory laws and procedures,” Alburo said.
Provincial Board (PB) Member John Ismael Borgonia, for his part, welcomed the MGB 7’s “full disclosure.”
Borgonia, who chairs the PB’s committee on environment and natural resources, had called for an investigation to determine the source of the dumped dolomite in Manila.
He admitted that he was surprised when Environment Undersecretary Benny Antiporda said the dolomite came from Cebu.
“Now that MGB issued a statement, basically our question has been answered. Being the chief implementor of our environmental law, we will confer with their statement,” Borgonia told SunStar Cebu on Saturday, Sept. 5, 2020.
However, he said he will leave it with his colleagues in the PB to decide if they will push through with an inquiry on dolomite mining in the province.
Malacañang has faced a wave of criticisms over the ongoing Manila Bay rehabilitation project while the country is fighting the coronavirus disease 2019 pandemic.
Presidential spokesman Harry Roque said funding for the project was allocated before the health crisis.
Environmentalists and fisherfolk also described the coastal makeover, which costs the government around P349 million, as destructive to the area where the “white sand” was sourced without addressing the bay’s environmental degradation problems. (JKV)