Palma supports Diocese of Dumaguete’s objection to multi-billion reclamation project
CEBU CITY, Philippines — Cebu Archbishop Jose Palma expressed support to the Diocese of Dumaguete’s objection to the proposed 174-hectare reclamation project in Dumaguete City, Negros Oriental.
The Archdiocese of Cebu is a suffragan of the Diocese of Dumaguete, which means that Palma helps Dumaguete Diocesan Bishop Julito Cortes in the oversight of the diocese.
“I, Jose S. Palma, of the Metropolitan Archdiocese of Cebu which has the Diocese of Dumaguete as one of her suffragans, make the above statement in solidarity with my brother bishop, Most Rev. Julito B. Cortes and with the Clergy, the religious and the lay faithful, who, after prudent discernment, have made a gallant stand though unpopular to some, in the planned 174-hectare Reclamation Project in Dumaguete City.”
“I reecho the sentiments of the same sectors that we are not against development as it is, but there are parameters that we have to consider and work within too. Development should have a human face … one that adheres to and primarily attends to the general welfare of the people first and foremost before anything else,” said Archbishop Palma.
Bishop Cortes has already issued a statement against the project saying that it is morally wrong to proceed with a P23 billion project that has environmental, economic, social, and even legal impact.
He noted that scientists have already disapproved the project due to its impact to marine life and that Negros Oriental has a huge landmass waiting to be used.
“Therefore, pursuing this 174-hectare reclamation project, at this particular time and under the abovementioned circumstances, is morally wrong. If it is morally wrong, then, it is incumbent for Christians and people of goodwill not to support such projects, structures, or systems,” said Cortes in a previous statement.
Cortes has expressed the objection when he appeared in a City Council session on August 9, 2021.
Palma echoed the urgent appeal of Pope Francis to all humanity “to take care of the earth, to stop the devastation of Mother Earth, whose natural resources have been depleted badly through the years because of man’s indifference to and deliberate destruction God’s creation.”
The prelate said that the Archdiocese of Cebu supports the stand of the Diocese of Dumaguete in their aim to protect God’s creations, both the earth and humankind.
“Development cannot be undertaken to cater and benefit only a few. In fact, development should even be the price and pride of humanity, when their rights, dignity, and wellness are respected and promoted,” he said. /rcg
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