By Junex Doronio
November 7, 2021
LAPU-LAPU CITY, Cebu — Desperate times call for desperate measures as some 500 fishermen have asked help from Cebu’s top Catholic leader Archbishop Jose Palma to “intervene” and halt the controversial 235.8-hectare Seafront City project in the booming Consolacion town north of Cebu island province.
“With no one else to turn to, we ask on bended knees for your help and guidance. We are like sheep in need of a shepherd,” the Bagacay Fisherfolks Association and Bagacay Homeowners Association said in their joint letter to Palma.
The distressed residents, fisherfolk, motorcycle-for-hire drivers, vendors, and shipyard workers said they were compelled to ask help from Palma after their plea to local officials led by mayor Johannes Alegado was just disregarded.
They cited the study conducted by Dr. Filipina Sotto of the FBS-Environment and Community Research and Development Services, which showed that at least 500 fisherfolk from Consolacion, Mandaue, Lapu-Lapu, and Liloan stood to lose their livelihood if the project pushes through.
“We are already poor but the only livelihood that we have left is being threatened by the Consolacion LGU’s plan to reclaim 235.8 hectares of land and turn it into what they call as Seafront City,” they bewailed.
Earlier, the Shipyard Association of Consolacion Cebu (SACC) in a letter addressed to Director William Cuñado of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources-Environmental Management Bureau (EMB), claimed that if the project continues, this means more than 300 vessels will have to look for other places or have to wait for months every year for their vessel to be certified as seaworthy.
“Not only will this greatly affect the shipping industry but will also compromise the safety of the traveling public,” the group added.
About 70 percent of the repair and maintenance of the vessels were being done in shipyards in Tayud.
But Mayor Johannes Alegado, in his State of the Town Address on October 25, vowed to focus the remaining eight months of his administration on the reclamation project.
His mother, Vice Mayor Teresita Alegado, who is running for mayor in 2022, also promised to continue the project, which will be done in partnership with a private consortium–La Consolacion Seafront Development Corporation.
According to sugbo.ph website, the Seafront City is anticipated to generate employment to 57,000 to 60,000 individuals and augment government revenue by an average of P600-million per year.