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PB to ask MGB 7 chief to clarify dolomite issue
By: Vanessa Almeda | Published Monday, September 14, 2020
The Provincial Board will summon MGB 7 Chief Engr. Loreto Alburo in their next session to be held on Monday, September 21 to clarify the dolomite issue. (Donald Moga)

The Cebu Provincial Board (PB) will summon Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB) Central Visayas Director Engr. Loreto B. Alburo on Monday, September 21, to shed light on the dolomite controversy.

This as a proposed resolution authored by PB Member John Ismael Borgonia “condemning” the official for issuing the ore transport permit which led to the extraction of dolomite from Alcoy, Cebu was deferred until Alburo’s side is heard.

“We will request the presence of Engr. Alburo on September 21, in the next session of the Provincial Board,” Vice Governor Hilario Davide III said.

Ex-Officio PB Member Celestino Martinez III in a motion asked for Alburo’s presence so he can “shed light on the matter as regards to the issuance of permits to dolomites and other minerals in the province.”

In his authored resolution, Borgonia said the issuance of the OTP was done “in the absence of public transparency and consultation with Cebuanos” and had the “utmost disregard to the authority of the local government of the Province of Cebu.”

During the floor deliberation, Martinez sought to clarify whether Alburo was invited to speak on the matter.

Borgonia said the MGB official was invited last week by the governor together with Borgonia, Dolomite Mining Corporation (DMC), Philippine Mining Service Corporation (PMSC), Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), and the Capitol legal team. 

However, Alburo did not attend because of “health reasons” and instead sent a representative. 

Martinez, for his part, said calling Alburo’s presence at the legislative body seeks to clarify two things: first, to shed light on his actions by issuing the permit and second, to find out DENR’s jurisdiction in the mining of dolomite and other minerals in the province.

“We also want to see the requirements, whether there was a misunderstanding or miscommunication, or what is the jurisdiction of DENR as to allowing the mining of dolomite and other minerals in the province,” Martinez said.

“So maybe he can answer these questions prior to passing this resolution kay basin kun ato ni i-condemn siya, di na hinuon motunga sa atong session kay mahadlok na na run,” Martinez said.

Borgonia said he “submits to the will of the majority” as it is a collegial body. 

“Ato pud gi respetoan ang mga opinion sa atong mga kaubanan,” he said when sought to comment on Martinez’s motion. 

Meanwhile, environmental activists under the Philippine Movement for Climate Justice (PMCJ) Cebu Chapter graced the PB session and expressed their support to the Provincial Government of Cebu in “condemning and ordering to cease all dolomite mining operations in Alcoy.”

PMCJ Cebu Chapter Coordinator Teody Navea said the Province “is providing a great example for the rest of our local government units in taking seriously the effects of mining in their jurisdictions.”

Navea said they agreed with Gov. Gwendolyn Garcia’s assertion that the DMC company did not have an environmental impact study (EIS) when it decided to engage in the quarrying activities outside its mining contract thus it has to be closed while investigation will be undertaken.

“Para namo tama ang pahunong usa ug imbestigahan,” he said while expressing hopes that the PB will be able to come up with an ordinance that will protect the people of Alcoy and the entire province for a “healthful and balance ecology.” (Vanessa L. Almeda)