Borongan city officials, residents push for abolition of seawall project

Borongan city officials, residents push for abolition of seawall project


LOCAL government officials and residents of Borongan City in Eastern Samar have pushed for the abolition of the seawall construction that allegedly encroached on Borongan’s reef line along Barangay Lalawigan, saying the project brought looming threats to Lalawigan’s marine biodiversity.

Borongan Mayor Jose Ivan Dayan Agda confirmed that the City Government did not request a seawall in the area, nor was it consulted prior to the project’s implementation, the Borongan City Information Office said.

“I oppose [the project] as well because my husband is a fisherman, they would lose their docking area. What happens if they build a seawall there? They won’t be able to fish anymore, because where would they place their boats?” said Letecia Tabo, whose husband is a fisherman.

The City Environment and Natural Resources Office earlier sent a formal report to the Community Environment and Natural Resources Office regarding the “massive extraction of corals” at Lalawigan Beach for the said seawall project.

Agda is also set to meet with the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH)-Eastern Visayas after the Holy Week to discuss pertinent concerns about the seawall project, the City Information Office reported on March 26, 2024.

The City Council has also drafted a resolution “seeking to temporarily halt the operations at the beach to make room for realignment and proper coordination with relevant departments.”

Rupert Ambil II, city information officer, maintained that “albeit adamant about protecting the reef system at Lalawigan, the mayor said that he is not against the protection from inundation that the seawall project aims to provide.”

“What does not sit right with the local chief executive is the unjust incursion on the reef line—causing irreparable damage to its biodiversity. Should the implementing agency refuse to discontinue the project, the mayor wishes for it to at least be adjusted to 20 meters away from the beach’s highest tide mark,” the city information officer said.

Lalawigan barangay chairman Joel Capones earlier slammed the seawall construction, saying it was "placed too close to the reef line and has already caused the excavation of a great number of Lalawigan’s corals for its foundation."

“What we want is for them to stop destroying the corals, to protect our beach. If the project is truly for Lalawigan, they should adjust [the seawall]. They should use land owned by the government, not the corals, not the beach,” Capones said.

“The extraction of sand alone is prohibited, why would they destroy the corals that fish and shells inhabit? They lay their eggs there. Dynamite fishing has long been prohibited because it destroys the corals, and now it is the backhoe that’s destroying the corals, which should not be the case,” he added. (Ronald O. Reyes/SunStar Philippines)


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