Malacañang respects the decision of the Cebu provincial government to order two mining companies to stop supplying dolomite sands being used for the “beach nourishment” project at a portion of Manila Bay’s shoreline.
Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque made this remark on Thursday, September 10 after Governor Gwendolyn Garcia issued a cease and desist order against two mining companies for transporting dolomites saying the provincial government of Cebu and municipality of Alcoy were “not informed “of the beautification project in Manila Bay.
Roque said the solution to the issue is for the provincial government of Cebu and the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) to “open their lines of communication”.
“Ang DENR kinakailangan makipag-ugnayan sa lokal pamahalaan ng Cebu (The DENR needs to coordinate with the provincial government of Cebu),” he said in a virtual presser.
According to Roque, it is not the first time that the Cebu provincial government and DENR will be working together since they also did so when Environment Secretary Roy Cimatu was assigned to oversee the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) response in Cebu following the spike in the number of infections there.
“Kung meron po silang mga concerns makipag-ugnayan lang kay Secretary Cimatu dahil hindi naman po iba na si Secretary Cimatu. Noong nagkaproblema ang siyudad ng Cebu, si Secretary Cimatu naman ang tumulong. Tingin ko po,buksan lang ang lines ng communication (If they have concerns, they should just coordinate with Secretary Cimatu because he’s not a stranger to them. When Cebu had a problem with Covid-19 cases, Secretary Cimatu was assigned to help them. All they need to do is open their lines of communication),” he said.
Roque also expressed confidence that the DENR will comply with the local government code which requires consultation with local government and public before dolomites are extracted.
“Sa tingin ko po, DENR naman ang project proponent diyan at wala nang iba, lahat po ng probisyon ng batas ay nasunod pero susunod din sila sa sinasabi ng local government code na kinakailangan yung patuloy na pagsupply ng dolomite ay merong pagpayag ng lokal na pamahalaan (I think that the DENR, as the project proponent, was able to follow the provisions of the law but they will also follow the local government code that the continued supply of dolomites must be approved by the local government first),” he said.
On Tuesday, Gov. Garcia issued a Cease and Desist Order (CDO) through Executive Order (EO) No. 25 which was followed by another Executive Order (EO) No. 25-A against Dolomite Mining Corporation (DMC) and the Philippine Mining Services Corporation to "immediately cease and desist from further extracting, processing, selling and transporting of dolomite, associated mineral deposits, and other quarry resources" and prevent the three remaining Ore Transport Permit (OTP) before the Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB) 7 from being implemented.
MGB-7 has already allowed PMSC to deliver 7,000 wet metric tons of dolomite to Manila Bay as a substitute to white sand for the aesthetic project, but there is three more pending OTPs that is supposed to bring 10,500 more wet metric tons of dolomite.
Garcia clarified in a press conference on Thursday, September 10 that she did not order to stop the dolomite extractions in Barangay Pugalo covered by the Mineral Production Sharing Agreement (MPSA) which DMC and the state entered into.
In her EO, Garcia said both the provincial government of Cebu and the municipality of Alcoy were not informed of the beautification project in Manila and that there was also no public consultation prior to the issuance of ore transport permits (OTP) by the Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB) in Central Visayas.
It also said there was no Environmental Impact Study performed on the use of dolomite in the Manila Bay white sand project.
The Manila Bay white sand project was met with criticism from environmental groups and senators who urged to suspend the project for violation of several laws.
Malacañang, however, said the project will prevent soil erosion and flooding. (PNA)