Consolacion town recla proponents accused of not consulting townsfolk

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OPPONENTS of the controversial 235.8-hectare reclamation project in Consolacion town, northern Cebu have claimed that proponents of the project failed to conduct “genuine and meaningful” public consultation on all affected sectors.

In their position paper submitted to the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) on Tuesday, June 21, 2022, opponents of the project, led by shipyard owners in Barangay Tayud, said that an interactive public discussion should have been initiated at the various stages of the project’s environmental impact assessment (EIA) process.

The EIA is a requirement needed before the project proponents could secure an Environmental Compliance Certificate (ECC).

The group said all environmental concerns against a certain development project must be addressed before proceeding with its implementation through the EIA process. Such a process must have a positive result to allow the DENR, particularly the Environmental Management Bureau (EMB), to issue an ECC.

Opponents also stated that the project lacked in terms of having an effective information and education campaign , stressing they were left in the dark that the project might affect their business and their personnel.

The project site includes the area where the shipyards in Barangay Tayud are located.

“All shipyard owners and other combined stakeholders were not invited during the focus group discussion and public scoping last December 14, 2020. Proper procedure should be followed, and the involvement of other parties, stakeholders and the community during the project planning,” the group said, in their position paper.

Only a few people were consulted

They claimed that the proponents admitted that only 25 residents from Barangay Tayud were consulted about the project due to the coronavirus disease pandemic.

They also reiterated that the reclamation project would pose a threat to the environment.

They believe that pursuing the reclamation will definitely increase the tidal current velocity, which can result in the scouring of the mangrove sediments that had settled in Tayud for quite a long time.

Outgoing mayor denies claim

For his part, outgoing Consolacion Mayor Joannes “Joyjoy” Alegado reiterated his claim that most of the shipyards affected in the Tayud area have expired leasing permits.

He added that only two have active permits and assured that these two could continue with their operations, even if the project would start.

Alegado also denied allegations that the project could affect the marine diversity in Barangay Tayud, claiming that marine life within the project site had been proclaimed “dead,” as some fisherfolk living in the area claimed.

He also claimed that the majority of the residents in Barangay Tayud wanted the project to push through and that the problem comes from the shipyard owners who he alleged were opposing the project “for their personal interests.”

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