Freeman Cebu Business

Oceana to ensure infra projects are environmentally compliant

Ehda M. Dagooc - The Freeman

CEBU, Philippines —  Environmental advocate Oceana Philippines announced to work closely with the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) to make sure big ticket infrastructure projects, particularly in Cebu are consciously upholding environmental laws.

In an interview with Rose-Liza Eisma-Osorio, Legal and Policy director of Oceana Philippines, noting the planned reclamation projects in Cebu, she said that the organization is trying to work on policies such as making sure the local government units that are approving or implementing coastal development projects are compliant.

Osorio referred to the development of more reclamation projects now being planned or now started in different parts of Cebu.

 “We are making sure that these projects are fully compliant with environmental laws,” she said.

With its collaboration with DILG, Oceana hopes to enjoin LGUs to strictly uphold the laws that protect the environment.

She expressed apprehensions that the reclamation projects that are sprouting all over Cebu, may pose risks to the province’s rich reserve of marine resources.

“We should veer away from these hard solutions and look into more nature-based solutions,” Osorio warned reminding project proponents that this direction of going back to nature-based developments in fact us the direction to recover from the losses caused by the pandemic.

“I think we have to change the paradigm,” she added.

In working closely with DILG, the campaign to protect environment, particularly those projects that involve the country’s marine resources, will reach local officials at the grassroots level.

Osorio reiterated that Oceana, a global non-profit ocean conservation group, is against any dump-and-fill projects in the country because of its threat to marine life and the negative impact it brings to livelihoods that depend on it.

“It doesn’t take into account the (marine) resources. What they only focus on is the additional land area. Maybe for the short term, we can benefit (from this), but in the long term we will lose the productivity of the marine resources,” Osorio stressed. 

Osorio mentioned the four big reclamation projects in Cebu, two of which are across each other which may narrow the Mactan Channel.

Earlier, Gordon Alan Joseph, chairman of the Infrastructure Development and Power Sub-Committees of the Regional Development (RDC) Council 7, recommended careful studies of these reclamation projects.

While joint venture reclamation projects do not require RDC approval unless required by the Philippine Retirement Authority, Joseph hopes “that these projects have sound financial, social and environmental studies to justify the projects.”

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