Mayor Michael Angelo Sestoso of the municipality of Alcoy in Cebu on Wednesday said dolomite extraction in his town has been existing for 39 years, thus, it is improper to say that its purpose is the beautification project at the Manila Bay.
Sestoso added he cannot recall any single environmental incident from the start of quarry operations of the Philippine Mining Services Corporation (PMSC) and the Dolomite Mining Corporation (DMC) in their area.
Sestoso issued this statement as he lamented reports quoting “environmentalists” who, he said, erroneously associated the Manila Bay nourishment project to Alcoy’s purported environmental degradation caused by dolomite mining.
“Di man maingon nga ang purpose sa dolomite mining operation sa Alcoy para sa Manla Bay (It’s wrong to say that the purpose of dolomite mining in Alcoy is for Manila Bay),” Sestoso told the Philippine News Agency in an interview.
He said that dolomite mining in Barangay Pugalo started in 1981 and its purpose is to export the minerals to Japan and some parts of Southeast Asia.
The mayor said dolomite is crushed aggregates from boulders mined in the hinterland area of the town but no environmental incident like landslide has occurred ever since. The minerals are used as auxiliary materials for iron and steel, plate glass for construction materials, automotive glass, fertilizer, and soil conditioner.
However, the PMSC is accommodating local orders of aggregates to support construction projects and agricultural farms in Mindanao that use dolomite as soil enhancers or neutralizer to farmlands damaged by fertilizer overuse, Sestoso said.
“We are proud that we have contributed to the beautification project of Manila Bay. The people of Alcoy are very happy that many people visit Manila Bay to see the beautiful sands which are actually the dolomite from Alcoy,” he said. “The Philippines is able to give a good impression to the world because of what President (Rodrigo) Duterte does in Manila Bay”.
The two mining firms have some 571 hectares of mining claims in Barangay Pugalo and some parts of the neighboring Barangay Obong, which is part of the adjacent town of Dalaguete.
Sestoso said that the firms are able to mine “a portion” of their claims.
While they support the Manila Bay nourishment project, the municipality also agreed with Governor Gwendolyn Garcia in stopping the local transport of dolomite pending resolution of the impasse on environmental impact monitoring and revenue sharing scheme.
The mayor said the municipality received around PHP200,000 to PHP300,000 per quarter (around PHP1.2 to PHP1.3 million per year) as their “share from the national wealth” from the dolomite mining.
“We have not received our 2019 share,” he said.
Garcia issued a cease and desist order against DMC and PMSC for their quarry operations of dolomite that is sold to the local market without paying tax to Cebu capitol and the municipality.
Sestoso said if they get a share from the local sale of dolomite, they can fund their social development projects which will help uplift the status of Alcoy from being a fifth class municipality. (PNA)