The reclamation of Dumaguete Boulevard, which was said to be rehabilitation, was stopped. Dumaguete City Mayor Felipe Antonio “Ipe” Remollo on Wednesday called for an investigation to determine the identities of those responsible for the issuance of a cease and desist order on a reclamation project at Rizal Boulevard here.
Dumaguete Boulevard Rehabilitation
The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) recently granted Mayor Ipe Remollo a certificate to continue his proposed project of the Dumaguete Boulevard Rehabilitation Program. This said program is said to be 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.
Who Stopped the Reclamation?
Remollo said that the document was signed for and in behalf of lawyer Janilo E. Rubiato, general manager and chief executive officer of the Philippine Reclamation Authority (PRA), which was dated March 18, 2019, but it could have been signed by anyone, noting the absence of a written name.
The city mayor, who is himself a lawyer, said he would have ignored the matter but his detractors continue to malign his name for saying he has implemented a project without the necessary documents. Remollo said the city government and Rubiato signed a letter of cooperation in 2017 for the development of Rizal Boulevard so he knows the signature of the PRA chief. He pointed out that the alleged cease and desist order bears a signature that is different from
As a self-sustaining agency under the Office of the President, the PRA encourages local government units and the private sector to reclaim submerged portions of the territories of cities and municipalities to exclude the provinces’ because PRA collects 30 percent of the fees from big reclamation projects such as the one at the Roxas Boulevard in Metro Manila where the Mall of Asia is located,” Mayor Remollo said.
However, the PRA gets nothing from locally-funded projects like the one being implemented in this city. Besides, the mayor said, the PRA, being a coordinating agency, has no authority to stop the existing reclamation project in Dumaguete.
Notwithstanding the fact that the authority of the city to reclaim is provided for in Republic Act 5797 otherwise known as the Revised Charter of Dumaguete City. The area reclaimed belongs exclusively to the city, or to cause to be undertaken by private contractors, such reclamation works on terms and conditions approved by the city council and the mayor. Remollo said there was nothing in the city’s charter that said it was subject to the approval of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) or PRA, because the latter was merely concerned about its 30 percent share from the fees of big-ticket reclamation projects while the DENR’s concern is the environment.
He lambasted the “alarmists” or those who claimed to be environmentalists, saying they merely have to create “noise” to justify their existence, so they will continue to receive money from their international funders.
The CDO cannot outweigh the authority of the city to reclaim the portion of the boulevard under the charter, Remollo noted.
The mayor said the project first started with the construction of a box culvert protruding to the sea worth P3.4 million so people would not smell the foul odor from the wastewater of the public market.
In support of the structure, city engineers recommended the mayor to fill up both sides of the box culvert so it could withstand big waves, along with the construction of a wave deflector like that of Pantawan 1 to protect of people in Barangay Tinago and some properties of the city. Remollo said the city should widen and utilize the open spaces as venue for sports competitions, local, domestic and international events.
This is why the city government applied for an environmental compliance certificate (ECC) from the Environmental Management Bureau (EMB) of the DENR in Region 7, and which was approved this month by Regional Director William Cunado.