Stop Panglao reclamation
THE FINDINGS of UP scientists on the environmental impact of the P1-billion reclamation project near Boracay Island should convince the Aquino administration and the local government unit from pursuing the 450-hectare Panglao reclamation project to avoid a potential catastrophic event affecting Boracay Island.
In a 17-page report, marine scientists from the University of the Philippines said the reclamation project (which involves 36.82 hectares of coastal waters in Caticlan and 3.18 hectares in Boracay) could adversely affect the white-sand shore of the country’s premier tourist destination. It could also alter the surrounding waters’ current patterns, especially in the areas north of the jetty port in Barangay Caticlan, Malay town, where the sea channel toward Boracay is at its narrowest.
The UP marine scientists’ findings on reclamation projects are clear. They warn of massive destruction. We ask President Benigno Aquino III and Environment Secretary Ramon Paje to stop the Panglao reclamation project which is even more devastating than the Boracay reclamation project.
The Panglao project involves a 450-hectare man-made island. (The Boracay reclamation has 40 hectares only and its impact is already devastating, according to scientific studies.) It could lead to a geographic devastation, environmental holocaust and all-out massacre of fisherfolks’ livelihood in Panglao, a fishing municipality. It will change the geography of Panglao and cause the resort’s destruction. It will only please the national government’s corporate clients. This is reason enough for the immediate cancellation of the project.
The project, developed by Oasis Leisure Islands and Development Inc., will consist of a cluster of islands. The first one (about 150 hectares) is intended, according to the proponent, for commercial and recreation areas, convention centers, hotels and other facilities. The second island (150 hectares) is for institutional, residential and medical tourism facilities and spas. The third (75 hectares) will be the site of small commercial establishments, such as dive and souvenir shops, and apartments for people who work here.
According to reports, the fourth island (70 hectares) will be reserved as a nature’s park, or as a camping ground or for fishing. The fifth, a cluster of islets (5 hectares), will be for sale and private acquisition.
This ecotourism project in Panglao promises nothing but environmental destruction, calamities and mayhem. Let us not sacrifice the environment and livelihood of the people for non-productive purposes and quick-profit ventures. The Aquino administration has no choice but to reject this project with finality.
—FERNANDO LAROGA HICAP,
national chair, Pamalakaya,
18-A Mabuhay St.,
Central District, Quezon City
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.