CEBU Governor Gwendolyn Garcia on Tuesday, September 8, 2020, issued an executive order stopping the extraction and transport of dolomite rocks from Alcoy for the Manila Bay beautification project.
Executive Order (EO) 25 orders the Philippine Mining Service Corp. (PMSC) and Dolomite Mining Corp. to immediately cease and desist from further extracting, processing, selling and transporting dolomite.
The Alcoy Municipal Government, police and military are expected to help enforce the order.
Dolomite Mining has been extracting dolomite rocks from Alcoy and selling these to the PMSC. The rocks are crushed and dumped as “white sand” on a portion of Manila Bay’s shoreline supposedly as part of its cleanup and rehabilitation project.
Alcoy Mayor Michael Sestoso said EO 25 would affect his constituents who are working for the two mining companies. But he was hopeful that the matter would be resolved soon.
“Siguro kabalo na ta ug mahunong naa pa gyud epekto pero basin sa sunod adlaw basin ma resolba ra sad (We know that stopping their operations would have an impact, but I hope this would be resolved),” Sestoso said.
In her executive order, Garcia said that neither the Cebu Provincial Government nor the Alcoy Municipal Government was informed about the project.
No public consultation was also held before the Mines and Geosciences Bureau Central Visayas (MGB 7) issued two ore transport permits (OTP) allowing PMSC to transport seven wet metric tons of dolomite to Manila.
This violates Section 8(a) of Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Administrative Order 2010-21, which states that one of the roles of local government units in mining projects is to “ensure that relevant laws on public notice, public consultation and public participation are complied with.”
Garcia also pointed out that the project does not have an environmental impact study in violation of DENR Administrative Order 2003-30.
She noted that the quarry site is an environmentally critical area since it is in Alcoy, which has been declared as the habitat for the endangered bird Black Shama or Siloy.
Garcia invoked the precautionary principle in environmental law to prevent “environmental inequity” that the Manila Bay project could cause as well as the environmental doctrine on hard look to inquire into the dolomite mining project.
“The extraction of dolomite minerals from Alcoy and the consequential damage it will cause the terrestrial environment of Cebu Island violate the Cebuano’s constitutional right to a balanced and healthful ecology in accord with the rhythm and harmony of nature,” EO 25 states, citing Section 16 Article 2 of the 1987 Constitution.
Provincial Board Member John Ismael Borgonia, chairman of the committee on environment, said he has filed a resolution condemning the issuance of OTPs to PMSC. It will be taken up on Monday, Sept. 14. (ANV)