land reclamation in the Philippines

Coalition launched vs illegal, destructive reclamation projects in Cebu

Brynch Bonachita
Coalition launched vs illegal, destructive reclamation projects in Cebu

SAVE CEBU MOVEMENT. A scene at the launching of the Save Cebu Movement at UP Cebu Open Grounds on Saturday, November 5, 2022. The alliance group calls on the governmentu2019s responsibility to protect our right to a healthy environment not just for the present, but also for the future generations of Cebuanos.

Jacqueline Hernandez/Rappler

Citing data from the Philippine Reclamation Authority (PRA), the Save Cebu Movement says that 10 of the 50 approved reclamation projects in the country are on the island.

CEBU CITY, Philippines – Environmentalists and community leaders on Saturday, November 5, launched a coalition to oppose illegal reclamation and destructive coastal projects in Cebu province.

The Save Cebu Movement – an alliance composed of fisherfolk, urban poor, environmentalists, lawyers, business, and youth groups – was launched at the University of the Philippines Cebu.

Citing data from the Philippine Reclamation Authority (PRA), the alliance said that 10 of the 50 approved reclamation projects in the country are on the island.

The coalition dubbed Cebu as “ground zero” for having the most number of massive reclamation projects at various stages of development.

Data from PRA also showed that of the illegal and unauthorized reclamation projects identified in the province:

  • 65 are without special registration
  • 18 have special registration
  • 2 are for titling
  • 50 are for forfeiture

Reclamation or dump-and-fill projects convert bodies of water into land for the purpose of setting commercial, industrial, leisure, or residential establishments.

Members of the coalition highlighted that these efforts damage and threaten mangroves, seagrass beds, corals, and fisheries – important resources that provide food and livelihood to many Cebuanos.

To date, Cebu has at least 14 proposed reclamation projects located in Minglanilla, Consolacion, Mandaue City, Cordova, Lapu-Lapu City, Talisay City, and Naga City.

A map of proposed reclamation projects in Cebu province. (c) Save Cebu Movement.

Jiovannie Polestico of the fisherfolk group PANGISDA Pilipinas said that for the longest time, small-scale fishers have not been consulted on reclamation activities.

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Citing a survey of fisherfolk from different municipalities in Cebu province, Polestico said that a number of fishers are unaware of these projects.

“This is an insult and violation of the rights of our small fisherfolk,” he said in Cebuano.

According to Shipyard Association of Consolacion representative Jessa Balahadya, the Seafront City Project in Consolacion threatens the closure of 50 shipyards as well as marine and mangrove species close to the project site.

Oceana Legal and Policy Director Nikka Oquias highlighted the need to preserve mangroves and seagrass beds as natural defenses against the adverse effects of climate change.

“Yet we destroy them? What will be left for future generations? Oquias said. “We have the right to a balanced and healthful ecology; our Supreme Court recognizes this.” – Rappler.com

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