Diocese of Dumaguete opposes controversial reclamation project
MANILA – The Roman Catholic Bishop of Dumaguete Most. Rev. Julito B. Cortes and the Diocese of Dumaguete signified its opposition to the joint venture agreement planned betw3een E. M. Cuerpo, Inc. and the City Government of Dumaguete which is envisioned to establish 1 174-hectare reclamation area and convert the island into a “Smart City” to be funded with “a whopping budget of P23 billion.”
In an open letter dated July 12,20221, to E. M. Cuerpo, Inc., a copy of which was obtained by the writer, the Diocese said they organized a Forum on the so-called Dumaguete Reclamation Extension Project with environmental groups, leaders of different church-based groups, government agencies, Dumaguete City officials, Academe, and the Diocese of Dumaguete.
The scientists underscored the overwhelming environmental threats and damages the community may have to deal with should the reclamation project pushes through.
“This goes without saying that the technical processes involved have been found wanting (public disclosure and consultation, feasibility study, hydrodynamic study, environmental impact assessment, environmental compliance certificate, etc.) in as far as environmental and public interests are concerned,” the open letter stated.
Acknowledging the intention of the Local Government Unit to push economic, social and political development, “we strongly believe that massive projects like the one stated about must also consider scientific and environmental implications, not to mention its impacts on cultural and moral life of the people in the local community.”
The Diocese called on the private sector partner (E.M. Cuerpo, Inc.) to organize an open public forum so that more concerned people and institutions could take part in the discussions “to promote transparency and dialogue.”
The open letter was signed by Bishop Cortes, Vicar General Rev. Msgr. Glenn M. Corsiga, Rev. Fr. Gonzalo G. Omison II and Rev. Msgr. Robert A. Bongoyan, HP, Episcopal Vicar of Dumaguete City Parishes.
Copies of the letter were sent to Environment and Natural Resources Secretary Roy A. Cimatu, the Philippine Reclamation Authority, Dumaguete Mayor Felipe Antonio B. Remollo, Provincial Governor Roel R. Degamo, Silliman University President Betty C. McCann, Foundation University President Victor Vicente G. Sinco, among others. (Melo M. Acuña)
Dumaguete Bishop Julito B. Cortes, D.D. (Bishop Cortes FB page photo)