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Cebu Prov is an LGU too; prior consultation a must - Gov
By: Mylen Manto | Published Friday, September 25, 2020
Gov. Gwen Garcia maintained that prior consultation should have been done with the Cebu Provincial Government, a local government unit, before permits on the transport of dolomite get issued. (Lito Tecson)

Invoking its power under the Local Government Code (LGC) of 1991, the Cebu Provincial Government maintained that prior consultation must be done before national government agencies issue permits for projects to be implemented in its towns and component cities.

This is to protect the interest of the Province and welfare of the Cebuanos.

Governor Gwendolyn Garcia stated this in a meeting with representatives of Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB)-7, Environmental Management Bureau (EMB)-7, Provincial Environment and Natural Resources Office of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (PENRO-DENR) on Thursday, September 24.

Under Sections 26 and 27 of the LGC, she said there must be prior consultation and coordination with the concerned LGUs before the implementation of projects or program. 

The governor added that the Capitol must be consulted through the Provincial Board (PB) even if endorsements from the barangay or the municipality of Alcoy have already been made prior to the issuance of the Ore Transport Permit (OTP) for the transport of crushed dolomite to Manila Bay for their beach nourishment.

MGB-7 issued the OTP to the Philippine Mining Service Corporation (PMSC) for the delivery of 7,000 wet metric tons of dolomite to Manila Bay as a substitute to white sand for the aesthetic project.

OTP is a permit specifying the origin and quantity of non-processed mineral ores or minerals which is required for their transport. 

Prior consultation

“In this case, we have from the smallest LGU or organization which is the barangay, then you have the towns and the Province of Cebu. We are also an LGU. You know very well ang tanan nga ipasar nga ordinansa sa mga lungsod og component cities muagi pa sa Provincial Board, unless the Provincial Board confirms it, dili na ma-effective,” Garcia stated.

Under its mineral production sharing agreement (MPSA) between the Republic of the Philippines signed on March 4, 2005, Dolomite Mining Corporation (DMC) has a contract area of 524.6103 hectares in the municipalities of Alcoy, home of the Black Shama, and Dalaguete, the vegetable basket of Cebu. It can mine in the area for 25 years or until 2030.

DMC sells the extracted dolomite to PMSC, a mineral processing permit (MPP) holder, for processing and sale. 

Garcia said it is only right and just for the Province to be consulted on this matter considering the two towns where DMC and PMSC operate are under the jurisdiction of the Provincial Government. 

“In this case, we demand that we should have been consulted. Ngano, kay kong ma-unsa nang Alcoy, ma-unsa nang Dalaguete amo man nang problema. Probinsya may manubag, mag-landslide na diha, naay mangamatay diha or for that matter mu-extinct nang black shama or ang ubang mga tawo mawad-an nag kabuhayan diha kay natangtang na ang forest cover, nawad-an na og tubig, whatever is the impact kami gihapon ang mag-problema, ang probinsya, especially since Alcoy is a fifth class municipality up to now in spite of the presence of these two huge mining firms that are earning billions. So we insist the appropriate resolution,” she stressed.

Garcia added that under the Province’s Revenue Code passed in 2008, there is also a need to secure an accreditation from the governor.

“Under the Revenue Code they are supposed to get the governor’s accreditation, so they have to do that. We are enforcing that under 2008 Revenue Code, kay i-review nato sa pagpasar ana sa 2005 whether there was a prior consultation, pangitaon na nato,” she stated.

The governor asked the Provincial Legal Office to study and look into the LGC, Philippine Mining Act, and provincial ordinances on ways to reduce the firm’s contract area.

She also called on the EMB 7 and MGB 7 to work with the Province so measures will be undertaken to minimize the adverse effect of the mining activities in Alcoy town. 

“Unsa may measures kung hutdon na nila og kubkub tanan? Unsa may i-undertake nila to mitigate the adverse effect? Mahurot nanang Nug-as forest dinha (in Alcoy). Dalaguete is also our vegetable basket. Unsa may mitigating measures nila, sila nay mo provide og tanom,” she averred. 

Siltation recorded

Capitol PENRO’s underwater survey presentation revealed the presence of siltation near the weir 4 of the area of operation. 

DENR-PENRO Cebu officer-in-charge Jose Cleo Colis assured to look into the matter as he agreed that the presence of siltation in the discharge is evident in the area based on the presentation. 

Garcia said the images clearly showed that the company did not do the right process in preventing sedimentation and siltation from reaching the seabed which is a clear violation of its discharge permit.

“The way we see it, there is violation,” she said.

The governor also said that the Capitol will be looking into the environmental compliance certificate (ECC) issued to PMSC/DMC dated November 25, 2002, if this was perpetual, because based on the document, the quarry and development limited to the existing quarry area and the proposed gradual expansion to the north-northeast or south-southwest was within a span of seven years or until 2009.

The said ECC was attached to the MPP issued to PMSC on July 10, 2018 by former DENR Secretary Heherson Alvarez.

EMB 7 representatives told the governor that they will inform their central office to review the ECC as it was issued by them. (Mylen Manto)