Manila, Philippines – The new head of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) has been challenged by the fisherfolk group Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (PAMALAKAYA-Pilipinas) to reject the proposed Nickelodeon underwater theme park in Palawan that threatens the abundant marine resources and livelihood of the fisherfolk in the province.
The controversial underwater theme park in Coron, Palawan which drew flak from environmentalists, netizens and fisherfolk organizations is still being pushed by its proponents – the Coral World Park Undersea Resorts and the Viacom International Media Networks, according to the Department of Tourism (DOT) on Thursday.
“Environment Secretary Cimatu should prove his worth. We all know that the proposed Palawan project is no protection but will pose environmental degradation to our last ecological frontier and to its marine resources. Thus we challenge the newly-appointed DENR Chief to release a public statement deploring Palawan project and that he stands in the side of the fisherfolk who will be affected if the destructive project pushes through,” Fernando Hicap, PAMALAKAYA Chairperson said in a statement.
The fisherfolk group said DENR should not issue any environmental permit has the proponent of the project requested so. Any project that poses potential environment-impact is required to acquire Environmental Compliance Certificate (ECC) from the DENR by submitting the project’s Environmental Impact Statement (EIS).
“The last thing the DENR could do to preserve our last ecological frontier is to abstain from securing this project with ECC,” added Hicap.
PAMALAKAYA reminds Secretary Cimatu that his predecessor Gina Lopez had opposed the project when she was still the chief steward of the environment. Gina Lopez had declared Palawan as off-limits to destructive projects.
“Cimatu should follow the path of Lopez; a road towards genuine protection of the environment without putting the lives of the ordinary people at stake. If this project pushes forward, we have nothing to blame but the new DENR Chief Cimatuwho until now shows no ethos in genuine environment-protection and even continuing Lopez’ actions against giant destructive mines,” ended Hicap. ###