The Center for Environmental Concerns demands the stoppage of the construction of the Leyte Tide Embankment Project (LTEP) by the Department of Public Works and Highways Region VIII. Environmental advocates, scientists and Yolanda survivors have been calling for the stoppage of the multibillion-peso infrastructure project not only because of the danger it poses, but also of the high social cost since its conception in 2015.
The Leyte Tide Embankment and Road Heightening Project is a proposed project by the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) that is said to be a “storm-surge adaptation and mitigation measure”. It will run 27.3 kilometers—from Tacloban City to Tanauan. With that stretch, there is a constant resistance from different groups questioning the project’s technical integrity, the environmental issues associated with its construction, and its socio-economic impact on local communities.
Since last year, the CEC together with other organizations, have participated in series of dialogues and consultations regarding the threats of the so-called “Great Wall of Leyte.” Unfortunately, the project proponents disregard the contentions of local organizations and environmental groups. “They already heard the calls of the affected communities. The more pressing needs of the communities such as rehabilitation projects should be prioritized,” said Owen Migraso, CEC’s Executive Director.
With the LTEP construction underway, the formation of 7.8 kilometers seawall parts in San Jose District, Tacloban City and other parts of Section 4 of the project will cause an immediate dislocation of coastal communities, especially those dependent on fishing as their main source of livelihood.
The Leyte Tide Embankment and Road Heightening Project is also part of the ambitious Build! Build! Build! under the “Duternomics” that showcases priority projects of the Duterte administration’s so-called “Golden Age of Infrastructure.”
We urge President Duterte and the local government to consider the demands of the communities which will soon be evicted to give way to the huge infrastructure project. “It’s been years after Yolanda but the people remains to be unsettled. Prioritizing this project is not the relief the people need. This will instead worsen their living conditions,” added Migraso.