Saturday, July 20, 2019

Tell it to SunStar: Killing Tañon Strait


The Department of Environment and Natural resources (DENR) 7 is issuing a Special Use Land Permit in a protested area in the Tañon Strait Protected Area (TSPA) to the Century Peak Corp. in violation of Section 16 of the Constitution and Chapter VCC and VIII of the NIPAS Law, Annex A. As specified in the law, only indigenous people and tenured migrants are allowed to remain in protected areas.

As a concerned and knowledgeable citizen, I have tried to block and raise the issue to the regional director of the DENR and the Environmental Management Bureau (EMB) Region 7.

The field officers and workers of these national agencies in Region 7 are lax, remiss and neglectful in the protection and proper management of Protected Areas in Region 7.

In the Central Cebu Protected Landscape (CCPL), they allowed the construction of the Cebu Transcentral Highway (CTCH) to which bisects the CCPL without the benefit of an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) or an Environmental Clearance Certificate (ECC). Consequently, the CTCH suffers from landslides and instability and other environmental ecological poblems aside from being the main entry point of illegal operators and squatters in the Protected Area.

The non-strict implementation of a natural resources national policies and laws, particularly Section 16 of the Constitution and Chapters VII and VIII of the NIPAS law, are contributory to the accelerated destruction and deterioration of the country’s natural resources.

Cebu is dying as an ecosystem as evidenced and supported by the following facts: In 1957 or 62 years ago, the rivers that cross through Cebu and Talisay Cities, The Butuanon, Lahug, Labangon, Guadalupe and Mananga Rivers had free-flowing fresh water. Now, they are dry. Their tributaries emanate from CCPL.

In 1960, the Beverly Subdivision developer in Cebu City dug a deep well to supply water for the subdivision. The developer reached the water table at only 70 feet. Now the well has been deepened for more than 500 feet to reach the water table. In 1969, Prof. Wilhelm Browell, a German instructor at the University of San Carlos, made the first study of sea water intrusion in Cebu City. In 1969, the sea water intrusion was less than a kilometer from the shoreline. Now, it is more than four kilometers from the shoreline. With the current environmental trends in Cebu, in another 62 years or 2080, if nothing is done to mitigate or reverse the trend, all the remaining rivers in Cebu shall dry up; the water table shall have deepened to more than a thousand feet; the sea water shall have intruded more than eight kilometers from the shoreline.

Related to these concerns is our population: In 1957, Cebu had a population of approximately one million. Today, we are approximately 3.3 million. In another 62 years, the Population Commission projects that there will be at least 10 million people in Cebu.

Cebu deserves more attention than Boracay or the Manila Bay as the Central Cebu Protected Landscape and the Tañon Strait Protected Landscape are legislated as protected areas and are located in Cebu.--JOSE R. GAPAS


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