Long-term damage seen on Boljoon coastline
The damage wrought by siltation on the coast of Boljoon town that was caused by the reclamation project of the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) in sitio Talisay, barangay Poblacion won’t be seen immediately.
“We will see the effects of siltation in the next two weeks or more. We have to check the degree of siltation. The effects may not be immediately felt, but it will have a long term effect,” said Andres Pal-ing Jr., Boljoon’s municipal agriculture technician and fisheries coordinator.
In last Friday’s dialogue with Boljoon town’s fisherfolk, officials of Cebu’s 4th engineering district of the DPWH agreed to stop the reclamation project in sitio Talisay which they said is intended for shore protection.
The DPWH agreed to transfer the P43.9 million funds intended for the reclamation project to rehabilitate the damaged plaza at the back of Boljoon’s municipal hall and barangay hall after strong opposition from the fisherfolk.
They also said they will stop dumping boulders and reclaiming the white sand beach in the Poblacion near the Patrocinio de Maria church which the fisherfolk said had blocked their access to their fishing boats.
But the excavation of Ili Rock, the town’s famous limestone mountain, will continue.
Boljoon town’s coast teems with marine species like the hawksbill turtle and leatherback sea turtle, both considered as critically endangered species.
The marine sanctuaries in nearby barangay Poblacion, with the closest located at less than one kilometer were damaged by natural calamities since last year.
“Eighty percent of the corals were damaged by typhoon Pablo, earthquake and then Yolanda.
Today the corals are trying to heal itself, but it is now threatened by the reclamation project.
Siltation from the limestone dumped by the DPWH will have an adverse effect on our sea grass and corals,” Pal-ing said.
Boljoon Municipal Agriculture Officer Eugene Matildo said he doesn’t know if the DPWH considered environmental protection in their design for the reclamation project.
“If there is no mitigating measure, makadaot gyud na sa (it can damage the) coastal habitats. A reclamation measure, no matter how small, has a negative impact as the silts will go to the corals and damage our sea grass,” Matildo said.
Notice of violation
The DPWH started dumping limestone on the white sand beach without an Environmental Compliance Certificate (ECC) since November 7.
The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) issued a notice of violation to DPWH and called for a technical conference on Dec. 5.
Last year the two-storey social welfare office that stood at the remaining reclamation area at the back of the town hall was swallowed whole by the sea due to the 7.2 magnitude earthquake that rocked Cebu and Bohol.
Lawyer Edmund Villanueva, who opposed the excavation of Ili Rock, said they agreed to the DPWH rehabilitation of the town plaza.
“We agreed to it because they said they will strengthen the seawalls. The seawall has been there since I was born,” he said.
But Villanueva told Cebu Daily News that the DPWH and the DENR should also discuss the environmental impact on the proposed rehabilitation of the damaged plaza.
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