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CEBU, Philippines – Social media influencer and engineer Slater Young revealed on Thursday, August 24, a real estate project called “The Rise at Monterrazas” in one of Cebu’s most controversial development sites.
In a vlog posted on his official Youtube channel, Young said the project would be built on the side of a mountain and would not just be aesthetically pleasing but also sustainable.
“This whole thing actually took us maybe around 300 different versions,” he said.
The engineer explained that his team was inspired by the Banaue Rice Terraces in the North, primarily with the idea of following the flow of a mountain instead of working against the terrain.
After the announcement, Filipino netizens expressed their concerns and frustrations over the possible environmental impact of the luxury development project.
What’s wrong with Monterrazas?
While Young’s project is intended to be environmentally sustainable, a large proportion of the development will be built near the Monterrazas de Cebu, a site whose developers twice received cease and desist orders from the Cebu City government due to the development possibly causing disasters to happen at the foot of the mountain.
Monterrazas is located a few kilometers away from the residential area of Guadalupe, the most populated barangay in Cebu City.
On April 15, 2008, then-Cebu City mayor Tommy Osmeña revoked the development permit of Landco Pacific Corporation after a mudslide hit at least 10 families in Guadalupe.
Many of Cebu’s local chiefs and their families, including the Osmeñas, have homes in the residential areas of the barangay.
Prior to this, development works along the site’s jurisdiction, involving bulldozing of land and cutting of trees, caused gradual soil deterioration in the nearby upland areas.
On July 25, 2011, Cebu City Mayor Mike Rama ordered the new developer, Genvi Development Corporation, to stop construction work at the same site after witnessing at least eight sitios nearby get heavily flooded.
In 2019, the 8990 Housing Development Corporation acquired the entire site from Genvi Development Corporation.
At the time, 8990’s holding company, a mass housing developer, said in a disclosure with the Philippine Stock Exchange: “With the acquisition of Genvi, the development by the 8990 Group of upscale subdivisions and high-end residential communities will definitely continue. Furthermore, this firms up the intention of 8990 Holdings to expand into other real estate segments that have proven to have strong demand in the past years.”
Who approved this project?
Based on the Monterazzas de Cebu’s Environmental Compliance Certificate issued on May 30, 2007, the project was approved by Allan Arranguez, then the OIC regional director for Central Visayas of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR).
The environmental impact assessment and review were conducted by engineers William Cuñado and Armando Malicse, respectively.
Cuñado is the former director of the Environmental Management Bureau (EMB) of the DENR who was also responsible for the issuance of environmental compliance certificates to reclamation projects that have the potential to cause massive flooding in southern Metro Manila.
What Young says about The Rise
In terms of sustainability, Young said the project would have its own drip irrigation system.
“So this entire building will be collecting all the rainwater to a tank down below, and then we have an irrigation system that makes the entire strip of garden in front of you virtually maintenance-free,” he said in his video.
As for greenery, Young admitted that trees and plants “won’t be mature yet” when the project is built, but that they will progressively get better within two to three years.
The project also includes parking stations where electric cars can be charged and solar-powered amenity areas.
“Just being able to work with nature on this project really truly does like warm my heart. As cheesy as it sounds, this is a project that I’m truly, truly proud of,” Young added.
The entire Monterrazas de Cebu, the engineer hopes, would become something similar to a township in the near future.
In the same vlog, Young asked his viewers to provide their thoughts on the environmental aspects of the project that he may discuss in another update video.
Rappler has reached out to Young and his team for clarifications and responses to claims on the potential harms of the project to the environment but has yet to receive any reply. – Rappler.com