CEBU CITY—The municipal government of Alcoy in southern Cebu will be coordinating with the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) after an inspection showed heavy siltation and damage to the town’s marine ecosystem caused by extraction of dolomite.

(JANSEN ROMERO / MANILA BULLETIN)

Alcoy Mayor Michael Sestomo said he has yet to see a copy of the report by the Provincial Environment and Natural Resources Office (PENRO) indicating that corals were destroyed within 500 meters of seawater because of heavy siltation.

The heavy siltation has caused the corals and the seabed to turn white, the PENRO report said.

“I will have to ask our MENRO (Municipal Environment and Natural Resources Office) with regards to the result of the inspection. I don’t have personal knowledge of the reported damage,” said Sestomo.

Sestomo said if indeed that corals were destroyed, it would be best to seek assistance from DENR.

If confirmed that the dolomite extraction has caused coral destruction, the mayor said that measures have to be taken to prevent further damage.  

“We will request the help of DENR because they are the ones that has the expertise when it comes to marine ecosystem,” said Sestomo.

Cebu Governor Gwen Garcia has already ordered an investigation into the damage on the marine ecosystem after aerial photos and videos were presented by PENRO in a meeting with representatives of the Environmental Management Bureau (EMB), Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), the Dolomite Mining Corporation (DMC) and the Philippine Mining Services Corporation (PMSC) last September 17.

According to PENRO, particles from the crushed dolomite fell to the sea when transported to the bulk carrier vessels through a conveyor belt.

PENRO’s report may prompt the provincial government to issue another cease and desist order against the mining firms.

Garcia had previously issued a cease and desist order to DMC and PMSC for selling the dolomite as substitute for sand and gravel in the domestic market, which is not covered by their permits.

 Crushed dolomite rocks from Alcoy had been transported to Manila to fill a stretch of the Manila Bay baywalk.

The governor said he had no issues with the two mining firms transporting crushed dolomite for the Manila Bay beautification project but the DMC and PMSC must secure a permit for their quarry operations because what they have was permit is for mining.

“Let me reiterate. We are not against the Manila Bay beach nourishment project. We did not interfere because you (DENR) would always nourish the beach by getting your resources elsewhere. But you are getting resources from the Province supplied by DMC, extracted by DMC, and under the provincial ordinance, our Tax Code, they are supposed to pay 10 percent of the fair market value of quarry resource,” Garcia said during the meeting.


Source: Manila Bulletin (https://mb.com.ph/2020/09/22/dolomite-extraction-could-be-damaging-cebu-towns-marine-ecosystem/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=dolomite-extraction-could-be-damaging-cebu-towns-marine-ecosystem)