CEBU CITY — Issues surrounding the planned Seafront City Reclamation Project in Barangay Tayud, Consolacion town, northern Cebu has already reached the Office of the President.
This was confirmed by lawyer Joseph John Literal, Assistant General Manager of the Reclamation and Regulation Office of the Philippine Reclamation Authority (PRA).
Literal was asked about the reclamation project when he graced the Multisectorial Forum on Reclamation in Minglanilla and Consolacion Cebu organized by Oceana and the Philippine Earth Justice Center (PEJC) on Monday, Dec. 6.
Fisherfolk and residents that will be affected by the project had sent a petition to President Rodrigo Duterte to look in the project.
“Actually, the case that we are talking about, it already reached us. Some people complained to the President. So, we in the PRA since we are under the Office of the President, it was referred to us,” said Literal said in mix Filipino and English.
Without elaborating, Literal said there are processes to be followed in their verification of the complaint.
In the same forum, Dr. Filipina Sotto, a scientist and project leader of the FBS-Environment and Community Research And Development Services, raised a concern on the “reclamation frenzy” that is now happening in Cebu.
Sotto said that not much emphasis has been given as to how these projects will affect the fisherfolk and the other concerned sectors.
“How about studies, people who will complain? What if they [the proponents] already have the clearance of PRA, these different agencies. How about if there are also groups, for example, that will complain, how will you deal with this?” she asked Literal.
“In compliance with due process, when we receive these documents, we also furnish that to the DENR because they are, under the bureaucracy, they are the experts in environment laws. We will act accordingly but we also have a process,” Literal said.
As part of their verification process, Literal said, they will also be asking the project proponents to comment the concerns raised by the affected fisherfolk.
Consolacion Mayor Joannes Alegado was not in the forum.
Mark Eran, their town’s representative, told participants that he will be asking copies of their power point presentations so he can also discuss these with their group.
Meanwhile, Engineer Mary Ann Bueno of the Environment Impact Assessment Section of the Environment Management Bureau in Central Visayas, said sectors that will be affected by the Tayud reclamation project can always “contest” its implementation in the absence of proper consultation by its proponents.
The conduct of consultations and public hearings are required under public scoping.
“If ever important stakeholders were not invited, the fisherofolk, shipyard owners, they can contest to really require the proponent to conduct again public scoping,” Bueno.