Group calls on Duterte to create task force to rehabilitate Coron
Environmental advocates on Tuesday called on President Rodrigo Duterte to create an inter-agency 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 Philippine Reclamation Authority (PRA) to halt quarrying and reclamation activities in Coron.
What used to be a docking port with structures on stilts above the Coron Bay has now been covered with soil and dirt quarried from a nearby mountain to form a 51-hectare reclamation project aimed at catering to hotels, condominiums and shopping centers, said Bob Magallanes, a volunteer of civic 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 have been ruined. The mangroves were also destroyed. They caused a lot of damage in the sea.)
Lawyer Julito Sarge Sarmiento, legal counsel of Sagip Coron, said no public consultations were done before the reclamation project began.
The PRA has issued a cease-and-desist order directing the provincial government and private contractors to stop further activities in the town.
"Upon orders of the President to conduct inspection of the site, they saw the reclamation. The soil was of poor standard," Sarmiento said. "The PRA said this is not even fit for human habitation and commercial development. So, it's a useless reclamation."
The DENR has also canceled the environmental compliance certificate of the Coron Bay Development Project, which was proposed by the provincial government of Palawan, he added.
"We hope the incoming governor of Palawan will stop the project, withdraw the project... to rehabilitate Coron and make it really what should it be, a world heritage site," Sarmiento said.