AGHAM – Advocates of Science and Technology for the People expresses grave concern over the alarming number of ongoing and proposed reclamation projects in the country. We are extremely alarmed that the reclamation project in Coron, Palawan has already brought so much destruction to coral, seagrass and mangrove ecosystems in the area, which could potentially affect the tourism and food security in the province .
According to the latest records of the Philippine Reclamation Authority (PRA), there are at least 187 reclamation projects in the country . Their records, however, do not include other massive reclamation projects of San Miguel Corporation in northern Manila Bay (i.e., 2,500-hectare Bulacan Aerotropolis, Navotas reclamation, Manila Bay Integrated Flood Control and Coastal Defense and Expressway from Bataan to Bulacan) and the 174-hectare Dumaguete reclamation. Majority of these reclamation projects are found in Manila Bay. These projects are considered to be the legacy of the Duterte administration, and are feared to be further railroaded by the incoming Marcos-Duterte regime.
What happened in Coron should serve as a warning to local government units, national government agencies and private corporations who are planning or currently undertaking reclamation activities. The damage brought by the reclamation project in Coron on seagrasses, coral reefs and mangrove forests is costly and very difficult to rehabilitate, and this might happen to other parts of the country with reclamation projects. A 50,000-peso fine on the project proponents is not enough to compensate for the damage and losses this project has brought on our marine ecosystems and the ecosystem services they provide . We are calling for an immediate investigation on the project and an assessment on the extent of damage on marine ecosystems. We also call for accountability from the project proponents and the local government unit who pushed for such a project. We also demand accountability from the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) who issued the Environmental Compliance Certificate (ECC) and failed to monitor the developments of the project . We also call on the Palawan Council for Sustainable Development’s (PCSD) to intervene on matters related to environmental protection in the province and ensure that such destructive projects will not be allowed in the future.
Food security in the country could be threatened should the government continue on allowing massive reclamation projects that destroy marine ecosystems that serve as habitats and nursery grounds of fish and other aquatic resources. Destruction of coral reefs, seagrass beds and mangrove forests can also affect eco-tourism. These marine ecosystems also play a very important role in coastal protection and carbon sequestration vital in mitigating the impacts of climate change. It is high time that government officials listen to the warnings of scientists, environmentalists and coastal communities on the negative environmental and social implications of reclamation. #
 Inquirer.net. (2022, May 23). DENR cancels ECC of reclamation project in Coron. https://newsinfo.inquirer.net/1601149/denr-cancels-ecc-of-reclamation-project-in-coron
 Inquirer.net. (2022, April 2). Duterte puts reclamation applications on hold. https://newsinfo.inquirer.net/1576941/duterte-puts-reclamationapplications-on-hold
 ABS-CBN News. (2022, May 24). DENR di binantayan ang pagkasira ng mga bundok ng Coron: grupo. https://news.abs-cbn.com/video/news/05/24/22/denr-di-binantayan-ang-pagkasira-ng-mga-bundok-ng-coron-grupo