MANILA – The Climate Change Commission (CCC) has emphasized the importance of conducting a “thorough” empirical study on the environmental and climate impacts of the proposed 115-hectare reclamation project in Mandaue City, Cebu.
CCC Commissioner Albert dela Cruz Sr. made the proposal when he attended Wednesday’s public hearing conducted by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources-Environmental Management Bureau (DENR-EMB) in Mandaue City to hear the various stakeholders’ sentiments on the proposed Mandaue Harbor City reclamation project.
During the hearing, Dela Cruz mentioned the pros and cons of the planned reclamation.
While the project is expected to increase the area of usable land to support more people and growth of industries and livelihood, it could also have significant impacts on the environment and ecosystem, Dela Cruz said.
“We are not against economic development but we need to realize that the very basis of economy is ecology. We owe it upon ourselves and future generations of Filipinos to ensure the sustainability of our ecosystems and of the human race,” he said.
Dela Cruz said a carbon emission study must be conducted and a carbon sequestration and mitigating measures must be put in place before implementing the project.
He said such initiatives are meant to avoid the emission of greenhouse gases which may further aggravate climate change.
“This is very important because on the line are our local and vulnerable communities, particularly our fisher folk who may be gravely affected by the possible loss and damage of the marine biodiversity in the area,” Dela Cruz said.
Climate action plan
Dela Cruz also stressed the need to come up with a local climate change action plan (LCCAP), saying every local government unit (LGU) has the obligation to protect the welfare of their constituents.
This, as he cited the CCC records which showed that Mandaue City has yet to submit its LCCAP.
Dela Cruz said the Mandaue City local government should submit an LCCAP, considering the indications that the city’s reclamation project is “highly vulnerable” to rising sea levels because mangroves have already been removed or destroyed to give way to its implementation.
He said big projects such as reclamation could impact the lives of the people.
“The LCCAP will provide the climate and disaster risk management guidelines of the city, including efforts of mitigating and adapting to the effects of climate change and global warming,” dela Cruz said.
Dela Cruz said it is high time for LGUs to realize the importance of the LCCAP in promoting good governance and maintaining sustainable development for their constituency and the whole country as well.
The LCCAP serves as the LGU’s plan for enhancing local climate resilience and includes information on fit-for-purpose climate actions anchored on the LGU’s site-specific risks and vulnerabilities.
The public hearing was also attended by Cebu City mayor Michael Rama, Mandaue local officials led by city administrator Jamaal James Calipayan and representatives from the Philippine Coast Guard and environmental groups and advocates. (PNA)