De Lima raps Cimatu for closing 2 Cebu mining firms that supplied dolomite powder in Manila Bay project

Published September 29, 2020, 5:06 PM

by Hannah Torregoza 

Opposition Senator Leila de Lima on Tuesday slammed Environment Secretary Roy Cimatu for suddenly ordering the closure and investigation into the two Cebu mining and processing firms that the government patronized for its “Boracay”-like Manila Bay project.

De Lima said the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) chief’s order “would have been a hilarious joke” if only it was not for real, considering the harmful effects of the dolomite spillage on the coral reef, water and ambient air quality near the companies’ shiploading facility.

“Nakakatawa naman talaga ang DENR. Pagkatapos nilang isabog at ikalat ang dolomite sa dalampasigan ng Manila Bay, saka pa lang nila ngayon ipapa-imbestiga kung sanhi nga ba ng pagkamatay ng mga bahura ang natatapong dolomite ng dalawang minahan sa Alcoy, Cebu (DENR’s move is comical. After scattering dolomite on the shores of Manila Bay, it was only now that they sought for an investigation if dolomite mining was really the cause of death of the coral reefs in these areas),” De Lima said in a statement.

“Parang napakalaking katangahan naman na iniutos nila ang pagtambak ng dolomite sa Manila Bay bago pa man nila masiguro kung ito nga ba ay hindi nakakasira ng bahura (It’s utter foolishness for them to order that dolomite sand be dumped on Manila Bay without even making sure that such activity will not damage the reefs),” she pointed out.

She said Cimatu should not only halt the operations of the two dolomite and processing firms, but also start directing a clean-up drive of the dolomite sand from Manila Bay that the agency dumped there “for the so-called Boracay feels.”

“The rehabilitation of Manila Bay includes the revival and regeneration of its coral and mangrove systems. If dolomite is harmful to coral life, then how can DENR still expect to revive corals in Manila Bay after dumping several tons of the material on it?” she pointed out.

“The incompetence, negligence, and utter lack of intelligence is simply appalling,” she lamented.

“Only in this administration has ‘Imeldific’ beautification projects once again trumped informed decision-making of supposedly professional organizations like the DENR,” she added.

The Cebu provincial government had earlier issued a cease-and-desist order preventing the Dolomite Mining Corporation and the Philippine Mining Services Corporation from further extracting dolomite rocks for use in the controversial Manila Bay “white sand” lay over.

According to Cimatu, the stoppage will last pending the Environmental Management Bureau Region 7’s investigation and sampling on the ambient air quality and on the quality on waters near the companies’ foreshore loading facilities. [Hannah L. Torregoza]