3 projects within Tañon Strait await management unit’s nod

THREE projects are being eyed on the legally protected Tañon Strait, the sea between the islands of Negros and Cebu.

The endorsement of the Site Management Unit (SMU) is being sought for a private resort in Aloguinsan, docking facilities for a power generation facility in Toledo City and a wharf in Tabuelan.

The SMU’s endorsement is one of the requirements for a project to secure approval from the Tañon Strait Protected Seascape (TSPS) Protected Area Management Board (Pamb), which is tasked to manage and conserve the natural resources in the environmentally critical area.

The Pamb’s approval is a requirement for an environmental compliance certificate (ECC) for projects being proposed in environmentally critical areas, like TSPS, and those considered environmentally critical.

The SMU also received a resolution from Barangay Poblacion in Toledo City, expressing opposition to an 11-hectare reclamation project of the City Government.

The SMU—composed of mayors, private groups and DENR—was unable to tackle the issue as it failed to achieve quorum during a June 5 meeting.

Opposition

Lutheran Hernando, TSPS protected area assistant superintendent, said that Poblacion barangay council’s resolution was approved in a mass motion.

“Majority of (barangay council) members opposed such project on the following reasons: 1) the Tañon Strait is a protected area; 2) reclamation is unpalatable because some areas in Toledo are still undeveloped or underdeveloped; 3) that budget allocated for the project can be used for other programs,” read the barangay resolution.

Hernando said that the SMU will schedule another meeting to discuss the proposed projects.

Hernando identified the proponents as Manguilimotan Beach Resort in Aloguinsan; Aboitiz Power’s Therma Visayas Inc. in Toledo City, which needs a bigger area for ships to maneuver; and a wharf in Tabuelan.

Lawyer Gloria Estenzo-Ramos, vice president for marine conservation group Oceana, urged the government to stop the reclamation project in Toledo City.

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