MANILA - American television network Nickelodeon said Thursday its planned resort in Palawan has not been finalized and is "not developed undersea," following uproar from environment groups.
The broadcaster's parent, Viacom, said earlier this week that the resort would feature attractions "about 20 feet below sea level with vivid views of the world beneath the ocean," raising worries that it will damage coral reefs.
The 100-hectare resort will be inspired by Nickelodeon's popular characters, SpongeBob SquarePants, Dora the Explorer and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, said Viacom, which also operates MTV, BET and VH-1 networks.
"Design details for the Nickelodeon attraction has not been finalized yet, but it will be an undersea-themed attraction with an ocean conservation focus. It is not developed undersea," Nickelodeon said in a Facebook post.
The project aims to be "the largest coral reef conservation program in Asia," the network said.
"It is important to us that we are helping to play a part in ocean conservation, while friends enjoy a Nickelodeon entertainment experience in the new Nickelodeon attraction and resort that CWP is developing," Nickelodeon said, referring to its Philippine partner.
The environment department earlier said it would not allow the network to push through with the development if it will damage the environment.
"I will never allow the corals to be harmed, that's what we have, that's our wealth. You cant kill the corals for a theme park, no way," Environment Secretary Gina Lopez said.
Environment groups have also launched a signature campaign to urge the network and local government officials to drop plans for the project.