DENR exempts quarry resources from the mining moratorium

11 April 2017


Recognizing the need for cement, aggregates, and other non-metallic minerals, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) has allowed the processing of applications for non-metallic mining projects.

The Memorandum Order 2017-01 signed by the DENR Secretary Regina Paz L. Lopez on March 10, 2017, amended the provisions of DMO 2016-01. Certain quarry resources used in the construction industry are now exempted from the moratorium on new mining projects.

Mines and Geosciences Bureau – Central Visayas (MGB-7) and local government units may now accept and start processing applications for non-metallic mining.

Sand, gravel, limestone, crushed stones, among others are essential resources in the construction industry especially in a booming economy. Aggregates and quarry resources are used to build and maintain urban and rural infrastructures including commercial establishments, residential houses and buildings, roads and bridges.


Sirao residents prone to landslide told to evacuate

10 April 2017

Cebu City government were told to evacuate the families and relocate the structures within the “active” landslide area and encouraged the public to help revegetate the mountains of barangay Sirao.

The recurring landslide in sitios Langub and Tawagan is due to the complex mass movement in barangay Sirao caused by the remobilization of old landslide materials and overly saturated ground especially during rainfall.

Apart from the ten houses that were reported by the Cebu City Disaster Risk Reduction Management Office (CCDRRMO), the team from the Mines and Geosciences Bureau – Central Office (MGB-CO) indicated 40 more houses and structures that are along the path of the debris flow including the barangay hall and gym.

During the assessment conducted last March, a team of geologists led by Liza Socorro J. Manzano said that the tension cracks were striking and are progressing laterally and vertically in sitio Tawagan and in the slope of the Sirao Flower Garden. They have also observed several ground depression, sinkholes, and fractured cave systems that indicate active subsidence hazard.

The team found 22 sinkholes within Mt. Kan-irag, Mt. Pung-ol and Mt. Balisong with a depth ranging from 0.5 meter to three meters and a diameter of 0.5 to 250 meters.

The continuous movement or spalling-off of lose soil and rock materials from the slopes of Mt. Kan-irag is caused by its highly-fractured rocks and highly-weathered soil characteristics.

MGB gave a copy of an updated geohazard map to the Cebu City government and recommended for an immediate relocation of families within the identified critical areas and discouraged permanent habitation.

Active monitoring was also recommended in zones adjacent to the critical area.

Manzano also recommended that an evacuation protocol and plan should be established and residents must be made aware of the geohazard in their locality.

Construction of high-rise buildings are also discouraged along unstable slope and subsiding ground.

Areas declared as highly susceptible to subsidence and landslide should be free from permanent habitation. These areas may be designated for agro-forestry and other uses deemed appropriate by other agencies.

The phenomenon affecting barangay Sirao for three decades is a complex type of mass movement, a combination of subsidence and hillslope debris flows and may occur anytime.

Mining company told: Expand social development projects

7 April 2017

The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Secretary Regina Paz L. Lopez emphasized the responsibility of mining companies to stimulate economic growth beyond their neighboring communities.

In her visit to Carmen Copper Corp. (CCC) in Toledo City, Cebu last March 31, Lopez promised to work with the mining officials in an area development approach. This could help the economy not only of the host and neighboring communities but the entire Cebu province.

“I want to be able to use your Social Development and Management Program (SDMP) funds to create a massive area development growth to have a genuine economic growth that ends up in achieving social justice,” Lopez said.

Carmen Copper Corp. reported an allocated budget of about P200 million for their social development including livelihood and skills training for the nearby communities, infrastructure support such as farm-to-market roads, water and flood control systems, health assistance programs, local government support, among others.

SDMPs are provided for in DENR Administrative Order No. 2010-21, which is the implementing rules and regulations of Republic Act No. 7942, otherwise known as the Philippine Mining Act of 1995.

Every year, the mining companies are required to allot 1.5 percent of their total operating costs. From the amount, 75 percent of which is apportioned for community development, 10 percent for mining technology and geosciences advancement programs, and 15 percent for information, education and communication program.

“What I want you to do with your SDMP funds is to have an area development far beyond Toledo City into the whole of Cebu,” Lopez told the executives of CCC.

“Genuine economic growth is when there is no more social injustice. We should not adversely affect the future generation. What happens here is that the people within the mining area benefit but the people outside does not benefit at all,” she added.

CCC president Enrico C. Nera acknowledged the concern of the secretary and promised to work with her in expanding their social development programs outside Toledo City.

Lopez has been visiting mining operations that passed in last year’s mining audit.

CCC is one of the 12 operations that passed the audit. They are also consistent recipient of the Philippine Mine Safety and Environmental Association (PMSEA) for the Best Mining Forest Award for Metallic Category. In 2016, they garnered 2nd runner-up in the said category. 

Sinkhole opens in Badian farmland

The Mines and Geosciences Bureau – Central Visayas has confirmed a sinkhole formation in an agricultural land in the Bugas, Badian town, southwest of Cebu.

A section of a farm in sitio Purok 2 recently collapsed into a sinkhole.

A team from MGB-7 led by supervising geologist Josephine T. Aleta conducted an investigation in the area and found a big cavern hollow measuring three to five meters below the ground surface has formed. The sinkhole is seven meters deep with an elongated hole of about five to seven meters.

There was no water found in the sinkhole.

The town of Badian and its neighboring towns sit on a limestone area and is prone to sinkholes.

“Sinkholes are natural formations that occur when limestone deposits gradually dissolve after a contact with rain or circulating ground water,” chief geologist Al Emil Berador explains.

MGB-7 Regional Director Loreto B. Alburo asked the local government unit of Badian to continue monitoring the area and set up warning signs to warn the public of possible hazards near the sinkhole area.

Sinkholes, considered as a geological hazard happen when carbonate rocks are dissolved by water. This slow geological process, is often unnoticeable.

The dissolved carbonate rocks create cavernous space underground forming caves. When there is no longer underground support, the ground from above will collapse. It can also occur if a corroded limestone area is disturbed by natural tremors such as earthquakes or by human-induced activities, including blasting.

Berador said majority of the areas in Cebu have limestone deposits. About 60 to 70 percent of Cebu including areas that are habitable such as urban areas, is composed of limestone.

MGB-7 welcomes USEC Felongco in first official visit

The regional office of Mines and Geosciences Bureau – Central Visayas graced the first official visit of the newest Undersecretary of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR).

USec Noel Kinazo Felongco was recently appointed by President Rodrigo Duterte on November 16, 2016.

Immediately after taking his oath office before Senate President Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel last November 24, the Cebu-based lawyer, USEC Felongco visited the regional offices to personally meet the regional directors and staff and familiarize the projects of the department.

Yesterday, he visited the office MGB-7 and the regional office of the Environmental Management Bureau (EMB). He also visited the DENR regional office last November 28.

Felongco was a former commissioner of the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP). He was also a former city councilor of Cotabato City at the same time a professor of Notre Dame University.

Felongco finished his law school at the Notre Dame University.

His family is based in Cebu and looks forward to working more with the regional offices in Visayas and Mindanao.