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Sunday, October 12, 2014

Tea Rose Marble Stirs Controversy in Bulacan

There is between P10 trillion and P15 trillion worth of tea rose marble in the Sierra Madre mountains in the eastern part of Bulacan and both the provincial government and the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) have been protecting it from being mined and exported.
But lately, environmentalists are asking: “If Bulacan is the only place on Earth where tea rose marble can be sourced, how is it so that the pinkish slabs of stone can be found in the great halls of the gaming and entertainment oasis of Las Vegas and Macau?”
Sagip Sierra Madre Environment Society (SSMES) told the Manila Bulletin that the rare tea rose marble in the gambling meccas of the world have, indeed, been extracted from the Biak-na-Bato National Park in Norzagaray, Bulacan.
“I think it’s cursed because many people have already died over its mining. Perhaps, the deities and the unseen guardians in the rain forest and mountains of Biak-na-Bato were angered because the whole mountains together with its forest cover have already vanished creating an environmental malady that is now also being felt in the low lands because of severe floods,” said an officer of the SSMES.
Aside from the violent deaths and fierce court battles, the tea rose marble had enticed some politicians to embark into its illegal mining, the SSMES said. 

It was learned that the protection of the tea rose marble as one of Bulacan’s natural treasure was only realized when Governor Wilhelmino M. Sy-Alvarado started his first term in 2010 and banned the illegal extraction of all mineral deposits in the mountains of eastern Bulacan.
In the years that followed, the Bulacan Environment and Natural Resources Office (BENRO) had hauled marbles reaching up to 257, including wire-sawed tea rose marble blocks.
With no claimants to the tea rose marble due to the illegal nature of their extraction, the Office of the President granted the request of the governor that the 257 blocks be turned over to the provincial government of Bulacan subject to the terms of the (DENR). 
When the DENR and the provincial government announced that it will be auctioned, a new controversy once again stirs the mystery surrounding the red marble has cropped up.
Sources in Congress said that a lawmaker from Central Luzon is reportedly trying to coax DENR officials into including him as member of the Bids and Awards Committee.
The lawmaker had earlier questioned the Malacañang over its decision to give the province of Bulacan authority to dispose the marble.
The source added that the lawmaker is hell bent on chasing the tea rose marble that he has even tried to blackmail certain DENR officials.
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