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Cease and desist order issued vs 2 firms in Manila Bay ‘beautification’

Cebu Governor Gwendolyn Garcia on Tuesday issued a cease and desist order on two companies involved in the extraction and sale of the dolomite used in the Manila Bay "beautification" project.

In Executive Order 25 dated September 8, Garcia instructed both the Dolomite Mining Corporation (DMC) and the Philippine Mining Service Corporation (PMSC) to stop activities involving dolomite.

The two companies were ordered to "immediately cease and desist from further extracting, processing, selling, and transporting of dolomite, associated mineral deposits, and other quarry resources."

GMA News Online has reached out to PMSC for comment on the matter, but no response has been received as of posting time. The company is still trying to reach DMC.

According to the order, DMC was earlier granted a Mineral Production Sharing Agreement (MPSA) to extract dolomite from the municipality of Alcoy.

DMC then sold the extracted dolomite to PMSC which was allowed by the Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB) to transport a total of seven wet metric tons of dolomite to Manila for the beautification project.

In the Executive Order, Garcia noted that both the provincial government of Cebu and that of the municipality of Alcoy were not informed of the beautification project, as she said there was no public consultation for the transport from Cebu to Manila.

"[T]he issuance of the OTPS (ore transport permits) to PMSC without the proper notice to the local government unit and the absence of public consultation and participation clearly lacks transparency on the part of the MGB, PMSC, and DMC," the order read.

The order also noted that there is no proof that the project has an Environment Impact Study.

"[T]o further prevent more damage to the terrestrial environment in the Municipality of Alcoy there is a need to immediately stop PMSC and DMC from further extracting, processing, selling, and transporting of dolomite, associated mineral deposits, and other quarry resources," it read.

Provincial Board Member John Ismael Borgoni earlier said the board was left in the dark about the use of dolomite from Alcoy.

This comes as synthetic white sand was shipped to the Manila Bay as part of the P389-million beautification project of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR).

This was slammed by environmental groups and Vice President Maria Leonor "Leni" Robredo who tagged the project as "insensitive" and "insulting" amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire on Monday also said the inhalation of crushed dolomite rock can cause respiratory problems, among other health issues.

Still, Malacañang on Monday backed the project, claiming that this will help in flood control and prevent soil erosion.

For his part, Interior Secretary Eduardo Año said the plan to cover the Baywalk on Roxas Boulevard with synthetic white sand could be stopped if proven that it is harmful to the public.  — DVM, GMA News