Long road ahead for Mananga Water Park

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Wednesday, July 23, 2014


THE Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) 7 yesterday said they will evaluate the feasibility study on Talisay City Mayor Johnny V. delos Reyes's plan to convert Mananga River into a "Mananga Water Park" once they receive it.

Dr. Eddie Llamedo, DENR 7 spokesman and public information officer, said they'll only do this provided that all environmental laws, rules and regulations are fully complied with.

Impact study

The project entails a long process and requires several environmental impact assessment studies, among other permits and documentary requirements, he said.

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"The application alone for permits and the conduct of studies is a very long process that can take at least one year to finish," he said.

Llamedo said that under Presidential Decree 1586, or the Philippine Environmental Impact Assessment System Law, projects involving at least 1,000 square meters of land need a full environmental impact assessment.
This means the Talisay City Government will have to conduct an extensive environmental impact study, including the impact of the project on the plants and animals in Mananga.

The City will also have to hold a "genuine" consultation, or hearing, to get the community's sentiments on the project.

It will also have to get all barangays surrounding the river to support the project through a barangay resolution.

Lease-control privilege

Since the Mananga River is classified as a timberland, the DENR is mandated to have full control over it.
However, under Executive Order 192, the City may file an application to use the area for other lawful purposes, including tourism, or enter into a forestland agreement with DENR.

"The arrangement would be a lease-control privilege that grants the local government unit control of the forestland or timberland for 25 years," said Llamedo.

Speaking before the 888 News Forum at Marco Polo Plaza, delos Reyes believes the "Mananga Water Park" will promote the city's tourism, provide jobs and will make the public market in Lagtang profitable.

The mayor said the public market, which was built by former congressman Eduardo Gullas, is a little better than the word "useless."

Only a few go to the market, he said. So instead of alleviating the living conditions of vendors, cargo handlers and consumers, it has caused their suffering.

According to his proposal, Mananga River will be excavated and expanded to allow seawater to come in.

Call for an open mind

He said that once Roro (roll-on-roll-off) vessels and fastcraft can access Lagtang and connect to other places, it can be a good means of transportation that will effectively solve the traffic problem in Tabunok and Bulacao.
Delos Reyes also urged Talisay City councilors to refrain from saying they oppose his idea, but instead asked them to invite him to their session so he can explain.

Vice Mayor Romeo Villarante told Sun.Star Cebu that some council members, including him, do not agree with his idea.

"But if he will present his plan, we will listen to him and consult proper authorities," Villarante said.

If delos Reyes's project pushes through, the Mananga River will be the third river in Central Visayas to be developed into an eco-tourism park.

The other two are the Bojo River in Aloguinsan, Cebu and Loboc River in Bohol.

Art Barrit, spokesman and education director of the Associated Labor Union-Trade Union Congress of the Philippines, said converting Mananga River into a water park is not a new proposal.

He said that in 1995, then Cebu City mayor Tomas Osmeña made a similar proposal under the Metro Cebu Development Project but it was shut down by DENR officials.

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on July 23, 2014.

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