The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) recently granted Dumaguete Mayor’s proposed Rehabilitation or Improvement of the Dumaguete Boulevard. At the same time, a petition to stop the “rehabilitation” was made by concerned citizens fighting for the well-being of the environment.
Rizal Boulevard – Rehabilitation for Sports Purposes
DENR Management Bureau Region 7 Director William P. Cuñado has certified that the Local Government Unit of Dumaguete City represented by Mayor Felipe Antonio Remollo has been granted the Environmental Compliance Certificate for the proposed Rehabilitation/Improvement of the Rizal Boulevard near the Press Club with an area of Seventeen Thousand Seven Hundred Fifteen (17, 715) square meters.
The project components include eight (8) units volleyball/handball courts with 1, 024 square meters; open spaces (including paved pathways and promenade area, 16, 691 square meters; 36 units of lamp posts (including rough-ins and installation of electrical wiring, fixtures and energizing) and containment wall/seawall of 234.26 square meters.
Cuñado noted that the LGU has satisfied the requirements, hence DENR-EMB decided to grant an ECC for the project. This project is necessary in order to protect the buildings and communities along the shoreline from storm surges and huge waves that normally would reach even the highway endangering motorists and pedestrians. To maximize the use of this shoreline protection, beach courts and promenade, which are well lighted will be developed to give more space for games and amusements.
Petition to Stop Dumaguete Boulevard Rehabilitation
Environmental groups here and in the province of Negros Oriental are spearheading a signature campaign petitioning city Mayor Felipe Antonio Remollo to stop the ongoing multi-million pesos “reclamation” project at the Rizal Boulevard here. According to Merci Ferrer (co-convenor of the War on Waste (WOW)-Negros Oriental and who heads the Zero Waste Cities-Dumaguete), their groups are calling for transparency as there is no point on going back and forth on things related to the project. She said that the petition is now being circulated to gather as many signatures before this will be forwarded to the mayor, and perhaps an audience with him by the end of the week.
The petition, launched during an environmental forum held over the weekend here, reads in part: “We demand that the project be halted, that the city conduct stakeholder consultations and a transparent process, a full environmental impact assessment, and the fulfillment of the city’s obligation to protect the environment under the Amended Fisheries Code, Local Government Code, Clean Water Act, Ecological Solid Waste Management Act, Climate Change Act, and other relevant laws.”
STOP BOULEVARD PROJECT!!!
It also cites concerns on the environmental impact of the project, such as possible pollution of municipal waters, local fisheries, biodiversity of marine ecosystems, wastewater flow, and the scouring of shores, among others. Furthermore, the environmental groups decried the alleged “lack of transparency and public consultation” with regard the project. Dems Rey Demecillo, City Hall Information Officer, has reiterated that the city government has not received a copy of the said PRA letter, but Ferrer believes otherwise.
I find it funny and ridiculous that they keep on saying that they do not have a copy of it. I have reason to believe that someone at City Hall has received the PRA document,” but she declined to elaborate.
It is the mayor’s responsibility to report to us, the citizens, of what is happening and with all the controversy, he has the position and the power to clarify all these things,” Ferrer stressed.
Demecillo said that Mayor Remollo is set to issue a statement soon on the “controversy” behind the ongoing development project at the Rizal Boulevard. Originally intended for beach volleyball use and other purposes, the 1.7-hectare area in the southern portion of the boulevard which juts out to sea, the mayor and other city officials are saying this is not a reclamation project but a rehabilitation instead. The War on Waste (WOW), Kinaiyahan, Inc., and Friends of the Environment in Negros Oriental (FENOr) are spearheading the petition, with support coming from various sectors and even similar advocacy groups from other places.