OCEANA, an international ocean conservation and advocacy organization, will request incoming President Rodrigo Duterte to cancel eight reclamation projects in Cebu that were approved by the present administration.
Oceana Philippines Vice President Gloria Estenzo Ramos said that Cebuanos have the right to a healthful and balanced ecology under Article II, Section 16 of the Constitution and Section 16 of RA 7160 or the Local Government Code.
Speaking during the 888 News Forum at Marco Polo Plaza, Ramos, a lawyer, said that these two laws provide that it is the duty of local government units (LGUs) and National Government agencies to maintain a balanced ecology.
Ramos said they will request Duterte to issue an executive order for the moratorium of at least 10 years against any reclamation project.
“This is also the call from environmental advocates, church groups, non-government organizations (NGOs), people’s organizations (POs) for government to reevaluate its position regarding the ecologically destructive dumping and filling projects nationwide,” Ramos said.
Assistant General Manager Joselito Gonzales of the Philippine Reclamation Authority (PRA) revealed in his letter to Oceana Philippines that the reclamation projects that are for implementation will be located in Cordova, Minglanilla, Compostela, Consolacion, Mandaue City, Lapu-Lapu City, Cebu City and Toledo City.
Ramos said reclamation projects seriously impair the ecosystem.
She said they sent their position paper to outgoing President Benigno Aquino III but this fell on deaf ears.
“Reclamation is (meant) to destroy our life support system,” Ramos said.
She said they are filing cases to stop reclamation projects in the country. In Cebu, according to the records of the PRA, there are eight reclamation projects in the pipeline.
”We support the call of Sen. Cynthia Villar for the abolition of the Philippines Reclamation Authority, which approves reclamation projects without considering the destruction of the environment,” Ramos said.
“Reclamation projects destroy corals, the sea grass, the mangroves, among others. The first to be affected will be the livelihood of the fisherfolk. And of course, there is the food security issue because the essential marine ecosystem are all integrated. They are the breeding ground of fish and marine resources,” Ramos said.
Ramos said LGUs that are proponents of these reclamation projects have the duty to maintain a balanced ecology.
Meanwhile, Consolacion Mayor Teresa Pepito Alegado said she endorsed the reclamation project in Barangay Tayud because this will be a part of the proposed international container port.
This project has been recommended by Japan International Cooperation Agency (Jica) and the Department of Transportation and Communication (DOTC) to decongest the cities of Cebu and Mandaue.