Environmental group calls for concern over reclamation project in Tañon Strait Protected Seascape
Press Release | August 24, 2017
The Center for Environmental Concerns (CEC) – Philippines expresses grave concern over the planned 11-hectare reclamation project in Toledo City in Cebu Province. The reclamation will take place in a protected area, the Tañon Strait Protected Seascape (TSPS), a body of water that divides Cebu and Negros islands. The TSPS was established last 1998 by President Fidel Ramos under Proclamation No. 1234.
“The Tañon Strait Protected Seascape is one of the largest marine protected area in the country and is known for its high marine biodiversity and rich fishing grounds. The Toledo Reclamation Project will most likely create adverse impacts to its ecosystem. The proponents should therefore think twice in pursuing the project. We should remember that local residents have filed a petition last 2015 opposing this project. Environmental groups have also conducted marine life assessment in the proposed area and found thriving marine life there,” said Owen Migraso, CEC Executive Director.
Toledo City Mayor John Henry “Sonny” Osmeña have previously abandoned the project back in 2015. But a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) was recently signed by the Mayor and the Philippine Reclamation Authority (PRA) General Manager and CEO Janilo Rubiato. This project is seen to be the site of an international port at the western side of Cebu.
“Given the importance of Tañon Strait in terms of food security and biodiversity, we are calling for a moratorium of its implementation until a comprehensive and scientific study of the consequences of pursuing environmentally-critical projects such as reclamation in a protected area is conducted. Even still, such projects should not even be pursued as it is unsustainable and poses a high risk to the environment and the people. The Department of the Environment of Natural Resources and the local government unit of Toledo should uphold its mandate of protecting the environment and the fisherfolks that rely on marine ecosystems,” added Owen Migraso, executive director of CEC.
Last August 17, 2017, the Makabayang Koalisyon ng Mamamayan (Makabayan) bloc of the House of Representatives filed House Resolution 1201 calling for a joint inquiry of reclamation projects under the PRA.
“We hope that this resolution will be approved to ensure that true protection of protected areas such as the Tañon Strait will be realized,” added Migraso.