Fisherfolk group Pamalakaya on Monday urged the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) to order the suspension of the Manila Bay beach nourishment project, following the suspension of two mining firms conducting dolomite extraction and processing in Cebu last week.
The group finds it “absurd” that a suspension order was issued against the Dolomite Mining Corp. (DMC) and the Philippine Mining Service Corporation (PMSC), when the overlaying of dolomite at the Manila Bay beachfront is still allowed to continue.
“(DENR Secretary) Mr. (Roy) Cimatu seems to be out of his mind when he had the two mining firms suspended yet the beach nourishment project which these two firms have been supplementing remains in full operation,” said Pamalakaya national chairperson Fernando Hicap, adding that “beach nourishment” was never mentioned on the Supreme Court mandamus.”
Pamalakaya claimed that the DENR suspension order was “actually to cover-up the white sand mess and that it will never restore the marine life adversely affected by the dolomite mining in Cebu.”
“Damage has already been inflicted to the marine environment. It will take time to restore the coral reefs destroyed by this mining operation. Moreover, its impact on the local fishermen could be even worse, as it might affect their daily fish catch,” Hicap said.
The group urged the DENR and the two Cebu mining firms to pay for the damage they caused to the marine ecosystem.
The DENR last Sept. 25 ordered the suspension of operations of DMC and PMSC pending the results of an investigation on the alleged coral reef damage, and monitoring of water quality and ambient air quality in the surrounding areas of the mining sites.
Cimatu also ordered the Provincial Environment and Natural Resources Office in Cebu to conduct a coral assessment to determine the health condition of the corals which was the subject of the complaint by the Cebu provincial government.
DMC, which is the only large-scale producer of dolomite materials, is a holder of a 25-year Mineral Production Sharing Agreement (MPSA) covering 524.6103 hectares of dolomite property located within the municipalities of Alcoy and Dalaguete, Cebu. It is set to expire in 2030.
Meanwhile, PMSC is a holder of a mineral processing permit that will expire in 2023.