By CherryPie Eggpie Sandoval and Lollipop delos Reyes
Manila, Philippines-The activist fisherfolk alliance Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (Pamalakaya) on Monday pressed Malacanang to stop the ambitious reclamation project in Panglao, Bohol province, asserting that the environment and the livelihood of small fisherfolk should not be sacrificed in exchange for business accommodation and money making and profiteering escapades of the few.
In a press statement, Pamalakaya national chair Fernando Hicap asked President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo to immediately recall the 450-hectare reclamation project in Panglao offshore, saying the Office of the President has decisive say on what he called “a geographic devastation and environmental holocaust.”
“Imagine the national government and the provincial government will change the geography and engage in all-out destruction of Panglao just to please their corporate clients. The situation merits the immediate cancelation of the project,” Hicap stressed.
The Pamalakaya leader believed the proposed man-made islands project off Panglao shores has the seal of approval of Malacanang. “The finger prints of Mrs. Arroyo and her staunch ally Gov. Eric Aumentado are imprinted in this extremely mindboggling project”, he said.
Hicap said it will ask militant representatives in Congress— Bayan Muna Reps. Satur Ocampo, Teodoro Casino and Atty. Neri Javier Colmenares, Gabriela Women Party lawmakers Liza Maza and Luzviminda Ilagan and Anakpawis party list Reps. Rafael Mariano and Joel Maglunsod to conduct an investigation on the controversial project in aid of legislation.
Hicap said Pamalakaya will formally write Sen. Loren Legarda, chair of the Senate committee on Climate Change to conduct her own investigation on the possible impact of offshore reclamation in Panglao Island on climate change. “We will explore all possible venues to ventilate the opposition of the fisherfolk and other concerned sectors on this outrageous escapades in Panglao,” he said.
The location of the project developed by Oasis Leisure Islands and Development Inc. is composed of cluster of islands. The project proponent said the first one of about 150 hectares is intended for commercial and recreation areas, convention centers, hotels and other facilities; the second island (150 has.) is for institutional and residential, spas and medical tourism facilities; and the third one (75 has.) would house for small commercial establishments such dive and souvenir shops and apartment for people who work here.
The fourth island (70 has.) would be reserved for nature’s park or camping grounds or fishing for commercial use. Here, “private sector can be tapped for coral planting and other marine-based initiatives for the conservation and protection of the environment.” The fifth cluster of islets (5 has.) can be acquired privately,
“Panglao Island has been virtually converted into a Temptation Island by the Manila government and its puppet mini-republic—the Bohol republic of Gov. Aumentado. Anyone can have his or her own republic built in Panglao as long as the price is right. This is totally and highly inflammatory,” said Pamalakaya. #