ONE of the committee chairmen of the Regional Development Council (RDC) 7 is calling on stakeholders and government agencies to carefully study the impact of the proposed 234.80-hectare Seafront City reclamation project in Consolacion, Cebu.
“Reclamations seem to be the flavor of the month these days and I can only hope that these projects have sound financial, social and environmental studies to justify the projects,” said Gordon Alan Joseph, chairman of the Infrastructure Development and Power Sub-Committees of the RDC 7.
Joseph said proper public consultation must be done, particularly to affected stakeholders and the project must go through a sound environment impact assessment.
“It is now up to the project proponents and the affected stakeholders to meet to discuss environmental and business disruption mitigation measures and see to it that these are implemented,” Joseph said.
“Our last hope is that this project is designed as a green, world-class smart city project and not just another unplanned landfill,” he added.
The proposed Seafront City reclamation project is a consortium with a private firm, La Consolacion Seafront Development Inc. and the municipal government of Consolacion.
This mixed-use reclamation project is envisioned to become an international economic hub.
Shipowners have said the reclamation project would displace them, and that the project does not propose any measures designed to prevent the loss of livelihood.
Recently, the group filed a case in court, challenging Consolacion Mayor Joannes Alegado’s decision to shorten their business permits.
Five shipyard owners in Consolacion, Cebu have filed a petition for certiorari before the Regional Trial Court in Mandaue City against the Consolacion Municipal Government after the latter issued business permits to them that are valid only for six months.
The petition stated that the petitioners have completed the requirements, including payment of taxes for the whole year required by the town based on its ordinance and the citizen’s charter, but they were surprised that they were only given up to June 30, 2021 to operate.
The shipowners are Philippine Rigid Construction Corp., Fortune Shipworks Inc., Nagasaka Shipyard Inc., PKS Shipping Co. Inc., and Uni-Orient Pearl Venture Inc.
Environmental group Oceana Philippines has stressed its strong stance against reclamation projects, saying it will destroy the country’s marine resources on top of the disruption of marine-related livelihood in the area.
“It is very sad that we are thinking about this kind of project that would essentially destroy our coastal habitats and the productivity of our coastal resources... If we continue on destroying them by putting these hard infrastructure projects, adding more land area, we don’t know what it would cost us in the future. These marine resources are important in terms of our consumption and protection from storm surges and strong typhoons,” said Atty. Rose-Liza Eisma-Osorio, legal and policy director of Oceana Philippines.
Osorio said the group is worried of the reclamation projects that are now sprouting all over Cebu.
“Somebody told me that there’s also one in Lapu-Lapu which is across Consolacion... This is very, very dangerous because that would narrow the Mactan Channel,” she said.
Oceana Philippines is also working with the Department of the Interior and Local Government on policy issuance to make sure that local government units approving or implementing coastal development projects are fully compliant with environmental laws. (KOC)