The cease-and-desist order issued by Gov. Roel Degamo against Sino-Italy Construction Philippines Inc. to refrain from conducting dredging operations in Tanjay City, Negros Oriental, remains in effect.

This even as the contractor had already informed the Capitol, the Tanjay City government, and the Mines and Geosciences Bureau of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources, that it was voluntarily dismantling its machineries and equipment at its mineral processing plant in Tambacan, Poblacion Barangay 4 in Tanjay.

Provincial Administrator Richard Enojo, concurrent provincial legal officer, yesterday said the CDO will not be withdrawn because Sino-Italy still has a pending application for dredging of the Tanjay River.

The Capitol will only revoke the CDO if Sino-Italy will cancel its application that is now pending with the provincial Environment and Natural Resources Division.

Enojo said Degamo had issued the CDO at the height of the Tambacan controversy after residents and other anti-mining advocates protested the dredging project that they alleged was just a front for more lucrative and massive mining operations for black sand.

Sino-Italy then applied for a dredging permit with the provincial government, even as it insisted that there was no need for it as they already had permits from regional and national government agencies to carry out the supposed dredging operations.

Enojo said that with the announcement of the dismantling of the mineral processing plant in Tambacan, the provincial government will no longer act on the application of Sino-Italy for a dredging permit.

He cautioned that with or without a cease-and-desist order, anybody who undertakes dredging operations within the jurisdiction of the provincial government can be arrested.

In a dialog in Tambacan led by the MGB 7 Monday, Sino-Italy, through its representative, David Kim, assured that the company will take down its mineral processing plant and announced the suspension of its operations.

The dialog, presided over by Edward Malahay of MGB-7, resulted in an agreement between protesters and the contractor for the dismantling activity that is expected to take for at least one week.

A community barricade, that was started about 40 days ago, had prevented the Sino-Italy personnel from entering the processing plant, except for a few employees, to include security guards.

The barricade was aimed at thwarting or stopping what the protesters claimed to be full operations of the contractor to haul black sand from the river.

Meanwhile, the dismantling started yesterday afternoon after Sino-Italy and the protesting community signed an agreement in the morning.

First to be taken down, in the presence of the protesters who were allowed in the plant to observe the activity, was the conveyor belt.

Everything had, so far, gone smoothly during the first day of dismantling.*JFP