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DENR opposes Nickelodeon underwater park in Palawan

Online protest to prevent the establishment of a Nickelodeon underwater theme park in one of the country’s top tourist destinations, Coron, Palawan was launched.  Anna Oposa, Facebook; Edited by Philstar.com/Jonathan Asuncion

MANILA, Philippines — Department of Environment and Natural Resources Secretary Gina Lopez on Wednesday said she would not allow the establishment of an underwater theme park in one of the country’s top tourist destinations, Palawan.

Lopez’s response came after environmental organization Save Philippine Seas’ Executive Director, Anna Oposa, on Tuesday launched an online protest to prevent the establishment of a Nickelodeon underwater theme park in Coron, Palawan. 

Oposa, condemned the announced plan to build a 400-hectare underwater theme park in Coron, Palawan, noting that it may harm the seas. She then created an online petition titled “No to Nickelodeon’s Underwater Theme Park in Palawan” in need of  100,000 signatures to stop its establishment.

“We call on the Local Government of Palawan, Nickelodeon (Viacom International Media Networks), and Coral World Park Undersea Resorts Inc., to junk their plan to build a 400-hectare underwater theme park in Coron, Palawan,” Oposa’s petition read.

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On Monday, The Hollywood Reporter said “Viacom's Viacom International Media Networks unit has unveiled plans to develop an undersea Nickelodeon Resort and Attraction in the Philippines.” It will become part of Coral World Park Undersea — the world’s first undersea attraction to be developed in a 400-hectare development in Coron, Palawan.

It was said that Nickelodeon’s part of the resort will cover 70 hectares for accommodation and 30 hectares for the themed attraction which will feature its signature cartoons such as SpongeBob SquarePants, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and Dora the Explorer.’

Coral World Park Undersea will start opening in 2018 while the Nickelodeon attraction will open in 2020.

Nickelodeon said its attraction will “advocate ocean protection” but environmentalists say otherwise.

“Contrary to your statement that it would 'advocate ocean protection,' it will accomplish the opposite. By building artificial structures, you will undeniably damage and disrupt Palawan's marine ecosystems — our last frontier,” Oposa said.

“For a channel that targets children, you are setting a terrible example to the younger generation by taking away their right to enjoy our natural resources. We don't need an underwater theme park — our underwater life is fascinating, entertaining, and educational on its own,” she added.

Oposa’s campaign gained support from netizens she dubbed “seatizens” and as of posting obtained over 95,000 signatures in less than 24 hours. She is eyeing to take her campaign offline.

On Twitter, the hashtag “CoronisNotBikiniBottom” opposing the establishment of undersea theme park is also among the current top trending topics with over 2,000 tweets as of posting.

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