WHILE the two big mining firms, Dolomite Mining Corp. (DMC) and Philippine Mining Service Corp. (PMSC), are permitted to explore dolomite mining in Barangay Pugalo, Alcoy, Cebu for export purposes, they allegedly abused their permits. Gov. Gwen Garcia, in a brief conversation with this columnist, said the two mining firms are abusing the permits granted to them by the National Government. She said the two firms also allegedly engage in sand and gravel extraction and illegal quarrying operations in their areas.
Gwen said the two firms have been selling sand and gravel to private contractors because of the administration’s “Build, build and build” project. There is scarcity of materials in the province because, upon her assumption last year, she ordered a ban on sand and gravel extraction. Private and government contractors are “importing” their source of materials from other provinces for their projects.
On the dolomite minerals used for the “nourishment project” in Manila Bay, Gwen said, she will not question it since it is a project of the National Government. The Supreme Court approved it and Congress appropriated funds for it. But since the minerals were sourced here, she should intervene on the sourcing and shipment of the materials. Thus, prompting her to issue a cease and desist order (CDO) on all transport permits (ATPs) or shipment as there are several metric tons ready for delivery.
She said the two mining firms have the “guts” to extract and deliver the materials for the “nourishment project” on Manila Bay because their client and backers are national and regional officials of the DENR. These DENR regional officials, especially from the Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB 7), are the same officials that granted permit to a cement firm to quarry in the City of Naga, which caused a massive landslide a few years ago, killing a number of residents.
On its website, the PMSC and its subsidiary DMC in 2009 were proclaimed Titanium winners under the quarry operation category of the Presidential Mineral Industry Environmental award and second runner up for non-metallic category of Best Mining Forest, respectively, during the 56th Annual National Mine Safety and Environment conference in Baguio City.
Pro-environment awardees, yes, but it seems they’ve gone far from the guidelines set under the Philippine Mining Act of 1995. It seems that officials of Alcoy are sleeping on their job on the abuses of these firms when it has the power to enforce environmental laws under Executive Order 79 (Institutionalizing and implementing reforms in the Philippine Mining Sector), the law that ensures environmental protection and responsible mining in the utilization of mineral resources.
Section 2 of the EO, which was signed by then President Benigno Aquino III, states thus: “The Government, in general, and the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) in particular, in coordination with concerned Local Government Units (LGUs), shall ensure that environmental standards in mining, as prescribed by the various mining and environmental laws, rules and regulations shall be fully and strictly enforced, and appropriate sanctions meted out against violators thereof.”
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