Save the Dumaguete Coastline; its Community and Biodiversity #NoTo174Dumaguete

Save the Dumaguete Coastline; its Community and Biodiversity #NoTo174Dumaguete

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Alliyah Zoobi started this petition to Mayor of Dumaguete City HON. FELIPE REMOLLO

On July 7, 2021, the people of Dumaguete, Philippines were blindsided by the news that Dumaguete Mayor Felipe Remollo tried to push through an agreement with the company EM Cuerpo, with links to the Chinese company Poly Changda, to build 174-hectare artificial islands, almost 2.5 times the size of Apo Island, about 30 meters from the coast and covering 85% of Dumaguete’s coastline. The project was negotiated without any information released to the public and with no public consultations.

This comes after the mayor’s “boulevard rehabilitation” program in 2019, purportedly to protect buildings and communities from storm surges but which ended up burying 1.8 hectares of seagrass beds to build a promenade and beach volleyball courts. Despite petitions by local environmental groups to stop the reclamation, the mayor proceeded with altering the coastline which has apparently resulted in increased flooding in Barangay Tinago, the coastal community it was supposed to protect.

The new “reclamation” project is a hundred times more massive. Not only does this project pave the way for the privatization of public spaces by giving EM Cuerpo 49% of the off-shore islands, it will have devastating environmental and social implications. It will bury life-sustaining coral reefs, seagrass beds, and wetlands equivalent in area to 4,000 basketball courts. The amount of rocks, gravel, sand, and soil needed for construction will be equivalent to about 7 times the size of the Great Pyramid. Whether these materials are taken from our mountains, rivers, or the adjacent seafloor, the destruction of other habitats and ecosystems will go beyond the borders of Dumaguete.

The project will destroy four of Dumaguete City’s Marine Protected Areas in Barangays Banilad, Looc, Mangnao, and Bantayan. This will reduce biodiversity and damage delicate ecosystems that many communities in the city rely on for much of their daily needs. It will alter the way in which our wastewater flows leading to the pollution of multiple municipal waters. Local fishermen will see a decline in fish catch and force them to go farther and farther out to sea in order to bring back enough fish to support themselves and their families. In furthering this project, the livelihood of a thousand fishers and their families would be destroyed. The city would likely displace many in the urban poor and coastal communities in order to make room for the construction.

The government is all too ready to force out local hard-working citizens in the interest of profit over the interest of the people. The artificial island enclaves have been described as a “smart city” for the rich and famous, hosting a yacht club, heliport, clubhouse, retirement villas, and high-rise condos at an estimated cost of 23 billion pesos. In all likelihood, the average Dumaguete resident will not be able to afford these luxuries.

We call for the protection of our environment, natural resources, our cultural heritage, local businesses, and communities.

We call to end the displacement of coastal and urban poor communities. 

We call on the government to work with communities already affected by the construction of the first reclamationin order to mitigate damages and make reparations for losses already incurred. 

We call for full transparency of government projects and for meaningful consultations for the protection of our coasts. We call on the mayor to refrain from entering into agreements without a full and vigorous discussion of the environmental, social, economic, and cultural costs of this project.

 

Organization signatories:

NoTo174Dumaguete Coalition

Kabataan Para Sa Karapatan - Negros Oriental

Mangrove Matters PH

Association of Young Environmental Journalists - Dumaguete Chapter

Students Toward Environmental Welfare and Research for Development and Sustainability (STEWaRDS)

Lihok NegOr

Tapak6200

 

0 have signed. Let’s get to 35,000!
At 35,000 signatures, this petition becomes one of the top signed on Change.org!