NO TO RECLAMATION. National Scientist, Dr. Angel Alcala, leads key officials of Silliman University in Dumaguete City in opposing the planned multi-billion-peso reclamation project along the city’s coastline (shown in this undated photo). Environmentalists are urging the city residents to sign a petition to stop the project. (PNA file photo by Judy Flores Partlow)
DUMAGUETE CITY – A national scientist has signed a position paper opposing the plan of the city government here headed by Mayor Felipe Antonio Remollo to undertake a reclamation project that would entail billions of pesos through a joint venture agreement.
Aside from Dr. Angel Alcala, the position paper, which was released Saturday evening, was also signed by Silliman University (SU) president Dr. Betty McCann, former SU president and environmentalist Dr. Ben Malayang III, and other university officials including Dr. Hilconida Calumpong, Rene Abesamis, Enrique Oracion, Janet Estacion, and Robert Guinoo.
The paper’s heading reads “we oppose building an island in front of Dumaguete”. It outlined several science-based reasons for the opposition, such as the project’s impact on the people and the environment.
The planned project will span several kilometers of this city’s coastline from Barangay Tinago down to Barangay Banilad in the south and a portion of Barangay Piapi to Barangay Bantayan in the north.
The petitioners noted some of its adverse effects such as endangering marine life, disturbing or even damaging the marine ecosystem and displacing the livelihood of those dependent on fisheries, among others.
“The project will directly destroy, literally bury the few remaining coral reef, seagrass, and soft sediment ecosystems that support small-scale fisheries and gleaning in Dumaguete,” the paper stated.
The petitioners also noted that the “planned project has not incorporated such tremendous expenses to offset the negative impacts on local communities that are dependent on these ecosystems for food and livelihood”.
Their appeal, as mentioned in the document, seeks the mayor’s full public disclosure of the project, “including how this would not disadvantage the government and people of Dumaguete”; for the city council to “rescind its action to indorse this project” until the body has been furnished “public reviews of the technical, social, economic and ecological acceptability” of the same; and for the mayor and the city council to disclose their collective reasons for the “haste” in pushing the project in the light of the coming elections and they could no longer be back in office.
Meanwhile, a signature campaign against the project is set to be held in front of the Rizal Boulevard here, to be led by environmental groups and other stakeholders who are urging the people to come out and sign the petition against the plan. (PNA)