Conservationists on Tuesday called on President Rodrigo Duterte to establish an interagency task force “to restore the pristine beauty of Coron, Palawan” following the alleged destruction of its marine ecosystem.
Duterte recently ordered the Department of Environment and Natural Resources and the Philippine Reclamation Authority (PRA) to halt mining and reclamation activities in Coron.
What was once a berthing port with structures on stilts above Coron Bay is now covered in dirt and earth excavated from a nearby mountain to form a 51-hectare reclamation project intended for the restoration of hotels, condominiums and shopping malls, said Bob Magallanes. , volunteer of the citizen movement Sagip Coron.
“Sira na ‘yung mga corals. ‘Yung mga mangroves sira na. Marami silang sinira sa dagat,” he told ANC’s “Rundown.”
(The corals were destroyed. The mangroves were also destroyed. They caused a lot of damage in the sea.)
Lawyer Julito Sarge Sarmiento, legal adviser to Sagip Coron, said no public consultation was carried out before the reclamation project began.
The PRA issued a cease and desist order ordering the provincial government and private contractors to cease all activity in the town.
“By order of the president to inspect the site, they saw the reclamation. The soil was of poor quality,” Sarmiento said. “The PRA said it’s not even suitable for human habitation and commercial development. So it’s an unnecessary reclamation.”
The DENR also revoked the environmental compliance certificate of the Coron Bay development project, proposed by the provincial government of Palawan, he added.
“We hope the new Governor of Palawan will stop the project, withdraw the project…to rehabilitate Coron and make it what it should be, a World Heritage Site,” Sarmiento said.
ANC, Rundown, Coron, Palawan, environment, Rodrigo Duterte