Shipyard owners protest reclamation plan of Cebu town ruled by mother and son
CEBU CITY—At least 10 shipyard operators here are opposing a project to reclaim 235.8 hectares of sea that would dislocate dry docks where more than 300 vessels get maintenance and repairs and put at risk their seaworthiness.
The project is being pursued by the municipal government of Consolacion, Cebu province at the village of Tayud in partnership with a private company.
“Should this project continue, this means more than 300 vessels will have to look for other places or have to wait for months every year for their vessel to be certified as seaworthy,” said Shipyard Association of Consolacion Cebu (SACC) in a letter to Director William Cuñado of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources’ Environmental Management Bureau (EMB) on Jan. 25.
“Not only will this greatly affect the shipping industry but will also compromise the safety of the traveling public,” the group added, as about 70 percent of the repair and maintenance of the vessels were being done in shipyards in Tayud.
The letter was presented to DENR representatives who attended the public hearing on Monday (Jan. 25) for the town’s Seafront City Project with officials of Consolacion and other affected parties.
Consolacion Vice Mayor Teresa Alegado claimed that only the shipyard operators opposed the project which she insisted would benefit the residents of Consolacion.
The shipyards, she said, “have been there for about six decades now.” “I think that’s enough already. As an official of this town, I need to prepare our municipality for the next generation,” she said.
“If they have complaints about the project, bring that to any forum and I will be there to answer them,” she added.
But both SACC and Barangay Tayud Captain Blessilda Villo said they were blindsided by Consolacion officials on the project.
Villo said she, too, was surprised by the proposed reclamation project as she was informed about it by the town officials only last December 2020.
“It seems that the city is in a hurry to implement the project which was done behind our backs,: Villo said. “Had there been proper consultation, we should have arrived at a win-win solution where everybody will be happy and satisfied,” she said.
Villo said Barangay Tayud has a population of 25,000 and at least 25 percent of the people have jobs in the shipyards.
When the project was still a concept, she said village officials and shipyard owners should have already been consulted. The SACC also said there was no “meaningful, prior consultation.”
The group members said they were caught off guard when town officials invited them to a meeting last Jan. 6 for a presentation for the project that would eliminate the shipyards.
The shipyard owners said they requested documents from Consolacion Mayor Joannes Pepito Alegado, the vice mayor’s son, to include a copy of the proposed joint venture agreement of the municipality with La Consolacion Seafront Development Corp. (LCSD), the notice of award of contract and an ordinance supporting the project. The mayor, however, failed to produce these.
The shipyard industry, the shipyard owners said, has served around 60 to 70 percent of the shipping industry in the Visayas and Mindanao, and provides employment, not only to residents of Consolacion, but also of neighboring towns.
For several decades now, the place to be reclaimed is an anchorage area where vessels wait until there’s berthing space at the Cebu port. It also serves as a shelter for ships during storms.
The shipyard owners said up to 70 percent of repair and maintenance of vessels are done in the shipyards in Tayud.
“Without repair and maintenance facilities, the safety of the ships will be compromised,” they said.
If reclamation pushes through, SACC said the vessel channel would be narrower and, as a result, would lead to increased and stronger currents that would be dangerous for ships passing through the channel.
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