The National Academy of Science and Technology, Philippines (NAST PHL), the country’s premier recognition and advisory body on science and technology (S&T) thumbed down Thursday, July 29, the 174-hectare Dumaguete reclamation project, citing its environment and socio-economic impacts.
Under the P23-billion “Smart City” island project, condominiums, malls, esplanades, and business hubs are expected to be built “while supporting 5G Internet connection” and modern ferry boat trips.
“The proposed massive reclamation project to build a “smart city” will negatively impact these biodiverse-rich marine protected areas directly or directly and will disturb the vertical connectivity between the shore/shallow to deeper species assemblage,” it said in a statement on Thursday.
“Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) on adjacent ecosystems, including those in neighbouring islands, must be considered in the proposed 174-hectare reclamation project,” it added.
The advisory body called on the proponents of the project to reveal to the public the technical, legal and due diligence reviews conducted on the sociology, ecology, the economics of the project.
It also urged the government “to hold public consultations or fora for the open discussion or scrutiny, verification, and validation of the project documents.”
“As part of due process process and in consonance with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the action to indorse and approve the contract for a project with potential significant environmental and socio-ecobomic impacts should be rescinded until the exercise if transparent public reviews/ consultations of the areas will be impacted by this project have been done with diligence, accountability, and good governance ensured,” the NAST PHL said.
The 23-billion reclamation project, dubbed “Smart City” island, is envisioned to house condominiums, malls, esplanades, and business hubs “while supporting 5G Internet connection” and modern ferry boat trips.
The NAST PHL is the country’s highest recognition and advisory body on science and technology. It was created by Presidential Decree 1003 on Oct. 6, 1976.
In 1982, Executive Order 818 was issued making NAST PHL as an advisory body to the President of the Republic of the Philippines and the Cabinet on policies concerning science and technology in the country.
It provides advice on matters related to science and technology in the country and engages in projects and programs designed to promote scientific productivity and science culture in the Philippines and facilitate collaboration and communication with international scientific academies.