Scientists raise red flag on proposed Tide Embankment project

October 25, 2016

A team of scientists and environmental advocates raised the red flag over the construction of a P7.9 billion “Road Heightening and Tide Embankment Project” along the coasts of Tacloban and two other towns in northern Leyte.

Proposed Alignment of Tide Embankment Project

Proposed Alignment of Tide Embankment Project

A 5-day Environmental Investigative Mission (EIM) led by the Center for Environmental Concerns (CEC) with its partner scientists from AGHAM (Advocates of Science and Technology for the People) aims to further investigate on the potential dangers the massive infrastructure may bring to the tens of thousands residents living along the 27.3-km stretch project.

Dubbed “Tide Embankment: For Whom?” the EIM seeks to provide a technical review of the megaproject on the urban landscapes and natural ecosystems in Tacloban City, Tanauan and Palo, Leyte and to determine the socioeconomic impacts of the project to communities, and the people’s perception of their vulnerabilities to disasters.

“The Tide Embankment is likely to disrupt sediment and water fluxes along the coastal areas, and across the structure itself. Inland drainage, wave dynamics, and coastal sediment budgets will be affected by such disruptions,” says Ric Saturay, resident geologist of AGHAM.

Head Researcher April Porteria interviews residents of a fishing community that will be affected by the tide embankment project. Fishers are worried their homes and livelihoods will be displaced because of the project.

Head Researcher April Porteria interviews residents of a fishing community that will be affected by the tide embankment project. Fishers are worried their homes and livelihoods will be displaced because of the project.

While an Environmental Compliance Certificate (ECC) has already been issued by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) conducted does not present a systematic model for coastal risk assessment which situates the proposed structural solution within the broader context of the problem being addressed and the biophysical and socioeconomic systems to be affected, he said.

Scientists from AGHAM also raised the alarm of the TE project potentially increasing the overall flooding risk of communities.

CEC's resident biologist Julius Gopez documents mangrove forests along the coastlines of Tacloban, Palo, and Tanauan that most likely will be affected by the project. Most of these forests are rehabilitated under the Leyte Gulf Rehabilitation Project.

CEC’s resident biologist Julius Gopez documents mangrove forests along the coastlines of Tacloban, Palo, and Tanauan that most likely will be affected by the project. Most of these forests are rehabilitated under the Leyte Gulf Rehabilitation Project.

“These potential risks are complemented by lack of genuine consultation on affected households on top of overarching issues on livelihood, decent housing and lack of basic social services,” April Porteria, CEC’s Head Researcher said.

Initial results of the research will be presented by the EIM team on October 27 in Palo, Leyte.