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No stopping Rizal Boulevard project – Dumaguete City Hall

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DUMAGUETE CITY – The city government here, through its Public Information Office, has denied receiving a copy of a Cease and Desist Order purportedly issued by the Philippine Reclamation Authority (PRA) a few months ago in relation to the ongoing “rehabilitation” of a portion of Rizal Boulevard in this provincial capital.

City Information Officer Dems Rey Demecillo said they have not seen the supposed PRA order and noted that the city has an Environmental Compliance Certificate (ECC) issued by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) dated June 18, 2019, which allows the rehabilitation of the boulevard.

Environmental groups and other quarters are, however, questioning the project as to why the ECC was issued only recently when the rehabilitation project had started last year.

The protesting individuals and groups, some of whom have posted on social media a copy of the PRA order, are clamoring for answers, saying that the boulevard project is not even a simple rehabilitation but a “reclamation” project.

They expressed apprehension over the impact the project will bring to the environment.

They also claimed that there was no public consultation on the matter, and also questioned the “huge” funding for the same.

Work continues at the “rehabilitation” or “reclamation” project that covers an area of more than 1.7 hectares even amidst a growing “controversy” behind it, the environmentalists said.

The boulevard project, as described in the ECC, includes the rehabilitation/improvement of 17,715 square meters of land with the following project components: eight volleyball/handball courts, open spaces for pathways and promenade area, containment wall/sea wall, and 36 lamp posts.

The ECC states that it “does not create any right, nor be used as an authorization to implement the project”.

Thus, the city government was directed to “secure all the necessary permits from other pertinent agencies” and “may proceed with the implementation only after securing these relevant permits” from pertinent government agencies.

Environmental advocates are saying that there must be a thorough investigation on what they believe are possible “violations” of laws.

An environmental forum here on Saturday is expected to thoroughly discuss the Rizal Boulevard “reclamation” project. (PNA)