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'White Sand' Mining Threatened 'Womb' of Cebu's Endangered Bird: Official

Among reasons for halt to dolomite mining.
by Joel Guinto
Sep 9, 2020
The endangered Siloy of Black Shama of Cebu is shown in this postage stamp from the 1990s.
Photo/s: Wikimedia Commons
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Mining for dolomite rocks in Cebu that were pulverized to simulate a white sand beach in Metro Manila was found to have threatened the sanctuary of an endangered bird -- the Siloy or Black Shama -- among many violations that led the provincial government to stop the operation, an official said Wednesday.

The cease and desist order against Dolomite Mining Corp and Philippine Mining Service Corp effectively shut the source of "white sand" for the capital's bayfront reclamation that was meant to provide an easy and accessible beach escape for millions who have been under coronavirus quarantine for six months.

The coastal town of Alcoy, where the dolomite rocks were mined, "is the womb of the bird species Siloy," Cebu province's legal management consultant, Marino Martinquilla, told Teleradyo.

The Siloy or Black Shama is listed as endangered by International Union for Conservation of Nature’s Red List of Threatened Species, which tracks extinction risk worldwide.

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While Dolimite Mining has a permit or mineral sharing agreement with the government, its terms were violated, Martinquilla said. There were no consultations with local officials and it also lacked an impact study. "Ano ang ginagawa, nakasisira ba ito sa kalikasan ng Alcoy?"

"Even if there is such a permit, talagang may violations committed sa mga conditions sa permit and mineral sharing agreement. If there is a violation, the governor is within her right to issue a cease and desist order," Martinquilla said.

In her halt order, Gov. Gwendolyn Garcia said the provincial government and the Alcoy municipal government were not informed that the rocks would be used as sand for Manila Bay.

The provincial government "has nothing to do with the permit," which was issued by the environment department's mines and geosciences bureau, Martinquilla said.

“The governor does not want another tragedy to happen in Cebu,” he said.

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