SC Stops Boracay Reclamation

MANILA, Philippines --- The Supreme Court (SC) has stopped indefinitely the Aklan provincial government from continuing with its P1-billion reclamation project that covers 40 hectares of coastline in Boracay Island until all legal and environmental concerns are settled with finality and fully implemented.

In a unanimous decision written by Justice Teresita J. Leonardo de Castro, the SC converted its temporary protection order (TePO) issued last year into a continuing mandamus that would place the reclamation project under its judicial scrutiny.

Placed under a cease and desist order was Phase I of the project that started in late 2010 and involves 2.64 hectares of foreshore area in Caticlan in Malay town.

The Caticlan phase, estimated to cost P260 million, would rehabilitate and expand the jetty port and passenger terminal and put up commercial building and wellness center.

Under a continuing mandamus based on the Rules of Procedure for Environmental Cases, concerned government agencies are directed "to perform an act or series of acts decreed by final judgment which shall remain effective until judgment is fully satisfied."

The SC said "the writ of continuing mandamus permits the court to retain jurisdiction after judgment in order to ensure the successful implementation of the reliefs mandated under the court's decision, and in order to do this, the court may compel the submission of compliance reports from the respondent government agencies as well as avail itself of other means to monitor compliance with its decision."

With the ruling, the SC directed the Department of Environment and Natural Resources-Environmental Management Bureau (DENR-EMB) in Region VI to review its classification of the reclamation project as a single instead of a co-located project; its approval of the provincial government's classification of

the project as a mere expansion of the existing jetty port in Caticlan, instead of classifying it as a new project; and its impact to the environment based on new, updated and comprehensive studies to be undertaken by the DENR-EMB Region VI.

The SC also ordered the provincial government of Aklan to conduct proper consultations with non-governmental organizations and other stakeholders and sectors concerned and to secure the necessary clearances from local government units to be affected by the reclamation project, and to cooperate with the DENR-EMB in its review of the reclamation project.

On the other hand, the Philippine Reclamation Authority (PRA) was directed to monitor closely the submission by the Aklan provincial government of the requirements to be issued by the DENR-EMB in connection to the environmental concerns raised by petitioner Boracay Foundation, Inc. (BFI).

Three months from the promulgation of the decision on June 26, 2012, the BFI, the PRA, the DENR-EMB, and the Aklan provincial government were ordered by the SC to submit their respective reports on their compliance with its requirements.

The TePO against the reclamation project was issued by the SC on June 7, 2011 as it granted the plea of BFI, a group of resort, hotel, and restaurant operators in Boracay, as well as community organizations and environmental advocates.

In seeking a stop to the project, BFI - through lawyer Joel Ruiz Butuyan - said that a comprehensive impact assessment and public hearings should first be conducted.

It pointed out that any reclamation project involving so-called "co-located" projects are subject to "programmatic" impact assessments studies, which the provincial government failed to perform.

"The various unlawful machinations perpetrated by respondent province in fraudulently classifying and misrepresenting as a non-environmentally critical project in an ECA (environmental critical areas), the subject project, and as a single project instead of a co-located one, has unlawfully and improperly provided it with opportunity to exploit and circumvent the regulations intended to protect the environment, particularly those environmental critical areas particularly Boracay," it said.

Citing provincial government documents, BFI said that the Phase I of the project is located on the Caticlan side, which is known to be a mere "rehabilitation" of the existing jetty port, the gateway from mainland Aklan to Boracay, which is separated only by a narrow strait of water.

It said that Phase 2 of the project covers 3.18 hectares on Boracay.

According to BFI, "it is impossible for respondent DENR-EMB not to be aware of the fragile ecological balance which creates the condition for Boracay's white-sand beaches."

It stressed that there is no necessity for a reclamation project in the area and that, based on a study conducted by University of the Philippines marine biologists, the reclamation project will likely affect the current and flow of the tides in the area, and may cause further erosion of the sands in Boracay.


Editor’s note:Yahoo Philippines encourages responsible comments that add dimension to the discussion. No bashing or hate speech, please. You can express your opinion without slamming others or making derogatory remarks.

  • N. Korea fires missiles in anger at South-US military drills
    N. Korea fires missiles in anger at South-US military drills

    North Korea fired two short-range ballistic missiles into the sea and vowed "merciless" retaliation Monday as the US and South Korea kicked off joint military drills denounced by Pyongyang as recklessly confrontational. The annual exercises always trigger a surge in military tensions and warlike rhetoric on the divided peninsula, and analysts saw the North's missile tests as a prelude to a concerted campaign of sabre-rattling. "If there is a particularly sharp escalation, we could see the …

  • Couple married 67 years holds hands in final hours together
    Couple married 67 years holds hands in final hours together

    FRESNO, Calif. (AP) — After spending 67 years together as devoted husband and wife, there was no question how Floyd and Violet Hartwig would end their lives — together. …

  • Hijacked Indonesian vessel found in Davao
    Hijacked Indonesian vessel found in Davao

    An Indonesian cargo vessel that was hijacked a month ago in North Sulawesi, Indonesia has been found stuck in the waters off Mati, Davao Oriental, the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) reported yesterday. PCG spokesperson Armand Balilo said the PCG- Southeastern Mindanao district was informed on Feb. 23 that the M/T Rehoboth was found aground off Barangay Cabuaya. Four personnel from the local PCG district office were sent to verify the report. The vessel was reportedly hijacked by …

  • 'Jihadi John' relatives under watch in Kuwait
    'Jihadi John' relatives under watch in Kuwait

    Kuwaiti authorities are closely monitoring several relatives of "Jihadi John" who live and work in the Gulf emirate where the Islamic State executioner was born, press reports said on Sunday. A number of relatives of Mohammed Emwazi, named as the militant who has beheaded at least five Western hostages, are working in Kuwait and like him hold British citizenship, Al-Qabas newspaper reported. "Security agencies have taken the necessary measures to monitor them round the clock," the paper said, …

  • Military steps up offensive vs BIFF, Abu Sayyaf
    Military steps up offensive vs BIFF, Abu Sayyaf

    Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) chief Gen. Gregorio Pio Catapang Jr. has ordered the sustained campaign against the Abu Sayyaf and the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) following the successive offensives against the armed groups last week. A total of 24 Abu Sayyaf bandits and two soldiers were killed in recent clashes in Sulu last week. The Joint Task Group Sulu has received information that Abu Sayyaf leader Radulan Sahiron was wounded during one of the encounters but this is …

  • Militants want US Marines pulled out of Negros
    Militants want US Marines pulled out of Negros

    The militant group Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (Bayan) is calling for the pullout of US Marines who arrived in Sagay City, Negros Occidental last Wednesday to train Special Action Force (SAF) commandos and members of the allied forces. The SAF commandos and the allied forces will secure the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) ministerial meeting in this city. Bayan-Negros secretary general Christian Tuayon said the US troops might violate the human rights of activists, especially those …

  • Interview: Australia says hunt for missing MH370 jet may be called off soon
    Interview: Australia says hunt for missing MH370 jet may be called off soon

    By Matt Siegel CANBERRA (Reuters) - The search for missing Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 cannot go on forever, Australia's deputy prime minister said, and discussions are already under way between Australia, China and Malaysia as to whether to call off the hunt within weeks. No trace has been found of the Boeing 777 aircraft, which disappeared a year ago this week carrying 239 passengers and crew, in what has become one of the greatest mysteries in aviation history. The search of a rugged …

  • Binay backs house arrest for JPE, GMA
    Binay backs house arrest for JPE, GMA

    Vice President Jejomar Binay yesterday supported proposals to put Sen. Juan Ponce Enrile and former President now Pampanga Rep. Gloria Macapagal- Arroyo under house arrest. “Government prosecutors are opposing house arrest for… Enrile. Binay issued the statement after the 91-year-old Enrile was rushed to the Makati Medical Center on Thursday due to pneumonia. House arrest for him would be the compassionate thing to do,” he added. …


Should Aquino be held accountable over the Mamasapano operations?

Poll Choice Options