Despite the fact that the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) has said it will have to “pass through an eye of a needle” to reverse the cancellation of its environmental compliance certificate, the Palawan provincial government is not taking the closure of its prime reclamation project sitting down.
The national government, meanwhile, announced that it would appeal the ECC cancellation order for the project that was already halted before the DENR revoked the ECC and before the Philippine Reclamation Authority issued a cease and desist order.
Since February 2021, the Palawan provincial government has halted all reclamation operations at Coron Bay. You may rest confident that this status quo will be maintained until all necessary legal requirements are met. “Cojamco stated on Wednesday that the Palawan government has frozen all reclamation activities at Coron Bay since February 2021. ”
Jonas Leones, the country’s environment undersecretary, said on Friday that the CBDP supporters would have to go through “intensive screening” and perhaps face criminal charges for environmental crimes in reclaiming Coron Bay.
“First and foremost, we must identify their (proponents’) liabilities. Second, because the Mines and Geosciences Bureau previously discovered breaches, it may be difficult for us to reconsider the appeal now that they have been found in violation of regulations.
They will have a hard time renewing or applying for an ECC. I believe they’ll have to go through the eye of a needle as a result of their mistakes. He concluded.
The Department of Environment and Natural Resources has already started assessing the damage caused by the reclamation project in Coron town’s coastal zone and ecosystem, according to Leones.
We will make sure that the project’s sponsors are held responsible if they violate provisions of the National Integrated Protected Areas System act or the Clean Water Act,” Leones said. If we see that they should be charged in court, we guarantee that we will not only impose administrative penalties on them but also criminal charges.
In July 2007, an ECC was given for a 3-hectare coastal reclamation in Coron, and another one in October 2009 for a 48-hectare extension.
The ECC’s requirement for a monitoring report was not met because of the lack of appropriate transfer of power when former Governors Baham Mitra and Joel Reyes were succeeded by Gov. Jose Alvarez, according to Comjamco. The ECC is necessary for projects that may have significant or potentially negative environmental effects.In 2007, former Gov. Joel Reyes applied for an ECC for a 3-hectare project, which was later approved. In 2009, another ECR was issued for 48 hectares. Because there was no transfer to the project, when Gov. Jose Alvarez restarted it in 2018 , it became known as the “Alvarez Plan
The project was terminated in 2012 due to a lack of funds, but it was restarted by Alvarez, who formed a partnership with investors for the development of hotels, docking stations, and other tourism-related services in Coron city proper.
In a press conference, Tolomilkos said that the reclaimed site will be “turned green” and provide a visual match to the island community’s iconic land and seascape.
The COVID-19 pandemic, according to Leones, resulted in a lack of oversight on the part of the DENR during project monitoring.
There was a minor gap. The project’s progress should have been closely tracked [by local environmental officials]. It’s difficult to accept, but we truly made a mistake on that front. When we were dealing with the COVID-19 problem, they (supporters) acted hastily.
We were unable to keep a close eye on it, he acknowledged. The DENR team that visited the site was shocked by how quickly the reclamation project had been completed, according to him.
We were surprised. We believe they took advantage of the epidemic to reclaim and reclaim, he added.
On May 12, Joe Amil Salino, the regional director of the DENR-Environmental Management Bureau in Mimaropa (Mindoro, Marinduque, Romblon and Palawan), annulled the CBDP’s 51-hectare Ecological Certificate of Compliance.