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Capitol defends plans to relocate in Balamban

By: Morexette Marie B. Erram April 02,2024 - 07:07 PM

new Capitol Balamban New Capitol debate.

The site development on the new Cebu Capitol building in Balamban. | Photo by Wiley Yray

CEBU CITY, Philippines – The Cebu Provincial Government defended its plans to relocate its seat of power to Balamban town in western Cebu amid criticisms following site redevelopment in the locality’s mountains.

Furthermore, they assured the public, including environmentalists, claiming that the project would not ‘bring massive environmental damage in Cebu.’

The Capitol made this statement after a coalition of non-profit organizations here called out the provincial government for deforesting portions of the mountains in Barangay Cambuhawe to pave the way for its new seat of power.

READ: Cebu Capitol, nat’l govt slammed over bulldozing Balamban’s mountains

However, officials reiterated that actual construction of the new Capitol headquarters has not started yet, and the one found in Barangay Cambuhawe was for a national road project.

“That development right now is not the provincial government. It is a DPWH (Department of Public Works and Highways) project,” said lawyer Rory Jon Sepulveda, a Capitol consultant.

Not protected area

Lawyers Jon Sepulveda and Ben Cabrido, in a press conference on Tuesday, April 2, said that the location of the site development in Barangay Cambuhawe did not belong to a protected area.

READ: New Capitol in Balamban sparks debate: Netizens raise environmental, accessibility concerns

The nearest one is the Central Cebu Protected Landscape (CCPL).

Cabrido contradicted the Save Cebu Movement’s claims that bulldozing works in the mountain barangay fell within CCPL’s buffer zones.


The renowned environmental lawyer, who now works as one of the Capitol’s consultants on environmental laws, also hit back at the group for apparently not ‘doing their research well.’

“(It is not a good thing to be) jumping on the bandwagon for the sake of publicity and mileage,” he said.

New Capitol or not?

Aerial images of a deforested mountain in Barangay Cambuhawe in Balamban recently went viral online and even sparked outrage.

READ: Senators pledge to fund new Capitol site in Balamban as civil works make progress

Heavy equipment can be seen bulldozing and clearing the mountains of what is believed to be the site of the new headquarters of the provincial government.

Gov. Gwendolyn Garcia, in earlier interviews, clarified that ongoing works in the area belonged to a national road project of DPWH-7.

However, she admitted that Barangay Cambuhawe was one of the areas they considered in putting up the new Capitol, adding that they have yet to purchase the lots needed to start the construction of the provincial government center.

If finished, the new access road in the hinterlands might serve as a link to the new Capitol, the governor pointed out.

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