Mayor Michael Angelo Sestoso of the municipality of Alcoy in Cebu said dolomite has been quarried from his town for the past 39 years. As such, he said it is incorrect to say that dolomite was taken from the town just for the beautification of 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 made the 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.
“It’s wrong to say that the purpose of dolomite mining in Alcoy is for Manila Bay.”
“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 said.
He stressed 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.
Sestoso said dolomite is crushed aggregates from boulders mined in the hinterland area of the town but no environmental incidents like landslides have occurred since. The minerals are used as auxiliary materials for making iron and steel, plate glass for construction materials, automotive glass, fertilizer, and as 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 as a neutralizer in farmlands damaged by fertilizer overuse, he explained.
“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 sand which is actually dolomite from Alcoy,” Sestoso stressed. “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 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.
Meanwhile, Sestoso said that while they support the Manila Bay nourishment project, the municipality also agrees with Governor Gwendolyn Garcia to stop the local transport of dolomite pending resolution of the impasse on environmental impact monitoring and revenue sharing scheme.
“The municipality of Alcoy receives around P200,000 to P300,000 per quarter as share from the national wealth from the dolomite mining.”
Sestoso said the municipality received around P200,000 to P300,000 per quarter (around P1.2 to P1.3 million per year) as their “share from the national wealth” from the mining of dolomite.
“We have not received our 2019 share,” he said.
Garcia issued a cease and desist order against DMC and PMSC for quarried dolomite sold to the local market without taxes paid to the 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.