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It’s not about Manila Bay for us, but the unpermitted domestic sale - Gov clarifies
By: Eleanor Valeros | Published Tuesday, September 15, 2020
In a press conference, Gov. Gwen Garcia clarified that the domestic sale of Cebu’s quarry resources without proper permit is what concerned her.

After Malacañang defended the "beach nourishment" project in Manila Bay using crushed dolomite from Cebu as filling material substituting sand and gravel, Governor Gwendolyn Garcia clarified that the domestic sale of quarry resources without proper permit made the act foul.

“Let us be very clear about this. I will not comment on whether or not gipa-gwapo ba nang Manila Bay. Dili ko mag-apil-apil ana. Ang akong komentaryo ug ang akong posisyon mao nga kaning duha ka firms (Dolomite Mining Corporation) labi na ning PMSC (Philippine Mining Service Corporation) wala na ni mag-mining, ga-quarrying na ni kay namaligya na ni locally," she explained in a press conference Monday, September 14.

"For the past 40 years didto ni sila namaligya sa Japan ug Korea as raw material in the manufacture of steel and glass. Apan lagi kay kusog kaayo ang demand ron sa sand and gravel, pun-an pa wa na ko’y gi-isyu nga sand and gravel permit, mahal na kaayo, nya Build-Build-Build karon nagkinahanglan, daghan kaayo’g mga dalan nga kongkretohon, daghan kaayong mga building, namaligya na ni sila locally," the governor continued.

Garcia also emphasized that Cebu has an existing provincial ordinance requiring companies to secure a permit to quarry.

"They will have to secure a permit aron una sa tanan gyud dili para makakwarta apan aron ma-regulate, aron masayod ta og pila na man ni ka-thousand nga cubic meters ang ilang gikubkob,” she added.

To recall, Garcia announced a new cap of 10,000 cubic meters per quarry permit to permittees last September 24, 2019 good for one year only. She granted lower than what was the maximum of 30,000 cubic meters and renewal is in two year’s time. 

She said that the decision is to facilitate closer monitoring with permit that is good for only one year this time. 

“Aron ma-inspection sila og didto lang ba gyud sila sa designated area nagkubkob,” she pointed out.

The quarry permit defines policies on disposal of quarry resources aside from extraction as it was noted that more quarry firms sell their waste deposits as alternative to sand and gravel.

In a previous meeting on the questionable ore transport permit of dolomite, Garcia already pointed out that the collection per cubic meter was raised to P48.80 from P20 per cubic meter and that aside from the documentary requirements, the applicant permittees are also required to submit an updated work plan on current extraction schedules.

“If they go beyond, then I suspend the permit kay unsa may kalibotan nato kon pila na ka bukid diha ang gipatag,” the governor said.

“Lahi ni sa MPSA (Mineral Production Sharing Agreement) kay ang MPSA duna ma’y work program, estimated volume in a 25-year period. Additional volume na man ni kay namaligya na man ni sila. Mao na I talked to Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque and I explained to him wala’y prior consultation, wala gani approval na kay wala man mi masayod,” Garcia further disclosed.

According to Roque, Garcia said, the two mining firms have to follow the process. Roque cited the decision in the Boracay Foundation, Inc. vs. Aklan on a reclamation project in Boracay Island, Municipality of Malay, Aklan Province.

“It was established by the Supreme Court that there should be a local consultation and the local government unit must pass the necessary ordinance,” Garcia pointed out.

In 2012, Boracay Foundation, Inc. filed a petition for an issuance of a writ of mandamus suspending the implementation of a land reclamation project along the foreshores of Barangay Caticlan in the Province of Aklan based on the ground that the classification of the project was incorrect leading to the failure to perform a full Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) as required by law, and that there was a failure for proper, timely and sufficient public consultation.

The Court determined that the valid questions raised by the petitioners put in question the sufficiency of the evaluation of the project by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources – Environmental Management Bureau Regional Office VI (DENR-EMB RO VI).

The Court further found that there was a lack of prior consultation and approval required by law. 

The Court issued a writ of continuing mandamus suspending the implementation of the project and requiring the DENR-EMB RVI to make a proper study and the Province of Aklan to submit the appropriate report and to secure approvals from local government units and hold proper consultations with NGOs, other stakeholders and sectors concerned. (Eleanor Valeros)