Online petition calls for halt to Cordova reclamation project

By: Marian Z. Codilla May 16,2015 - 05:27 PM

AN online petition has been circulated to mobilize public support against the proposed reclamation project in Cordova town.

The project has been described by environmental groups as the biggest reclamation project in the country with a total reclaimed area of 1,500 hectares.
A certain Jerome Alimpangog hopes to gather 100 signatures to support his petition, which is addressed to Cebu Provincial Gov. Hilario Davide III and the Cebu Provincial Board.
In his petition, Alimpangog said the 1,500-hectare reclamation project is “a losing proposition for all” and serves “nothing more than the greed of businessmen and politicians.”
“It kills marine life and their habitat, it kills food supply, it kills livelihood, it kills tourism,” Alimpangog said in the letter.


Last month, the PB unanimously approved a resolution authorizing Cordova town to negotiate with developer SM Prime Holdings, Inc. for the project which will cost P138 billion.
It will reclaim the foreshore area within the boundaries of barangays Day-as and Pilipog. The area is about five times as big as the South Road Properties, a reclaimed area in Cebu City.
The petition secured 47 signatures from online users as of 5 p.m. yesterday. Petitioners are required to enter their name, e-mail address and home address.
“I hope Cebu stops this. The times are calling for respect for and restoration of nature, not a downward spiral to destruction,” said one petitioner Ma. Clara Rowena Ebdani.
“The project won’t improve the quality of life of the majority of poor and middle-class Filipinos but only the few self-serving politicians and very rich big businessmen,” said Randy Arcales of Cebu City.

Cordova fisherfolk register their opposition to the reclamation project in this August 2012.

Cordova fisherfolk register their opposition to the reclamation project in this August 2012.

Direct impact
Another petitioner, Liza Quinain of Mandaue City said the project will only “kill the marine life and their habitat, kills food supply, kills livelihood, and kills tourism.”
One petitioner, Joselida Genilza pointed out that the reclamation project is not the answer to the problems of climate change nor does it address the problem of poverty.
Environmental lawyer Gloria “Golly” Estenzo-Ramos said the reclamation project has a direct impact on the marine ecosystem.
Cordova has one of the biggest areas for seagrass beds in the country.
Seagrass grows in the shallow marine waters of Cordova and is home to species that are vital to the town’s fishing community.
Joint venture
The seagrass is home to juvenile fishes and serves as a breeding ground for fish and the saltwater eel (bakasi) a delicacy which the town is famous for.
Ramos said the proposed reclamation project will impact heavily on the Danajon Bank, which is the major source of seafood that is brought to be sold in Cebu, Southern Leyte and Bohol.
The Cebu provincial government, Lapu-Lapu City and Cordova towns are among the 17 municipalities and four provinces that have jurisdiction over the Danajon Bank.
The Danajon Bank is a 381.5-kilometer reef system and the only double barrier reef in the Philippines and one of only three in the entire Southeast Asia.
Cordova Mayor Adelino Sitoy said the town received an unsolicited proposal from SM Prime to undertake reclamation and development through a joint venture agreement.
No cost
The proposed reclamation will be located at the foreshore and offshore areas at the southwestern coast of Cordova surrounded by the Gilutongan and Mactan channels.
The proposal said the reclaimed land will be 3 meters above the mean low water level. The project costs P137.8 billion at “no cost” to the local government.
SM will get 735 hectares of the total reclaimed land or 49 percent of the project while the remaining area will be shared by Cordova town, the Cebu provincial government and the Philippine Reclamation Authority.
The proponent promised employment opportunities, housing, health and education programs for the fisherfolk and their families.
On the other side of Cebu’s coast, another reclamation project is being proposed by the Toledo City government.
Though the 11-hectare reclamation is small compared to Cordova, environmentalists posed concerns that the project will have a disastrous effect on the Tañon Strait Protected Seascape, an environmentally critical area.

/With Cebu Technological University Intern Marc Cosep

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TAGS: environment, reclamation project

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