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Dumaguete mayor seeks public support for reclamation project

/ 05:00 AM July 17, 2021

MIXED-USE HUB A perspective of the proposed 174-hectare reclamation project in Dumaguete City shows a mixed-use commercial and residential area featuring malls, condominiums, hospitals, business hubs and a docking port for a yacht club. —COURTESY OF DUMAGUETE CITY GOVERNMENT

DUMAGUETE CITY—Dumaguete Mayor Felipe Remollo is asking the public to support the proposed 174-hectare reclamation project which has drawn criticisms from different groups that raised its devastating impact on the marine environment and the coastal communities relying on fisheries for food and livelihood.

Remollo said those who opposed the project were “not properly informed.”

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“We may differ in opinion but please give me an alternative to uplift the lives of the poor. I envision a free hospital, housing, education, medicine, water and electricity. That can happen if the city has money,” he said at a press briefing here on Wednesday.

Remollo was supposed to sign an agreement with E.M. Cuerpo Inc., the developer of the reclamation project, on July 12, but the event was postponed.

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‘Smart City’

The mayor explained that he requested the city council to revise the resolution, which authorized him to sign the joint venture agreement (JVA) with the developer, to add a paragraph that would render the JVA as having no legal effect should the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) and the Philippine Reclamation Authority (PRA) turn down the project with finality.

He also asked that some provisions be added to strengthen the environmental clauses in the proposal.

Based on a copy of the JVA, 51 percent of the reclaimed island will belong to Dumaguete and the PRA, while 49 percent will be the share of the developer.

The P23-billion project, dubbed Smart City, was envisioned to be a mixed-use commercial and residential area, featuring malls, condominiums, hospitals, business hubs and a docking port for a planned yacht club, among others.

Several groups, including environmental advocates, opposed the reclamation project which they said was deliberated hastily and would destroy marine life in the city and displace fisherfolks.

Remollo said it would now be up to the DENR and the PRA to decide on the project’s fate.

“You (people who oppose the project) have said your part. (Now let me) present this to the authorities, and let them decide. I am not a poor loser. I will accept what could happen to this plan,” he said.

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