Cebu Archdiocese supports fight vs. Dumaguete reclamation

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THE Archdiocese of Cebu is in solidarity with the Diocese of Dumaguete City as it fights against the realization of a 174-hectare reclamation project in the City, which some marine experts call a “monumental eco-disaster.”

On Saturday, Aug. 28, 2021, Cebu Archbishop Jose Palma issued a statement of support to the Diocese of Dumaguete emphasizing that developments should adhere to the general welfare of the people first.

“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,” the prelate said.

The local diocese and other groups are opposed to the proposed Dumaguete 5G-equipped “Smart City” reclamation project which, its supporters say, will bring investments and jobs to Dumaguete and its people.

The “Smart City” island is pictured to be a mixed-use commercial and residential area with business hubs, malls, condominiums, hospitals, sea ports, and docking port for a planned Dumaguete Yacht club, among others.

But some scientists and environmentalists also warned that four marine protected areas will be affected by this development and the habitat of fishes might be destroyed as well.

“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,” Palma said.

Dumaguete Bishop Julito Cortes, in his presentation to the Dumaguete City Council on the reclamation issue last Aug. 9, also raised several concerns about this proposed project.

Cortes said marine scientists predicted the project to be a “monumental eco-disaster” as the reclamation of 174 hectares will create 174 hectares of “underwater cemeteries.”

He also mentioned some possible corrupt practices in the contract, saying the Public-Private Partnership Selection Committe considered an unsolicited proposal of EM Cuerpo even without a feasibility study.

“The reclaimed land will never be as stable as the natural land, and with a P23 billion price tag, the investor might end up with a huge white elephant,” Cortes said. (WBS)

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