Fishermen to DENR: Probe Sorsogon coastal road project
MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) on Thursday was urged by a fisherfolk group to investigate a coastal road construction project in Sorsogon due to the possible use of corals.
The Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (Pamalakaya) said the road construction is still ongoing in Gubat, Sorsogon.
“We call on the DENR to look into the ongoing construction of a coastal road project in Sorsogon that involves dead corals. The agency should order its provincial environment office to conduct an inspection on the project site and assess if these corals have been deliberately extracted elsewhere. It would be unacceptable if coral reefs are being destroyed and uprooted for a dump and fill project,” Pamalakaya national chairperson Fernando Hicap said in a statement.
Hicap explained that corals are a fragile underwater ecosystem that could take up to a year to grow just for a few centimeters. He said it was vital for marine biodiversity.
The group said that fishermen in the area opposed the coastal road project due to possible threats to their livelihood.
“Bukod sa posibilidad na may sinisirang bahura o coral reefs para sa proyektong coastal road, may tiyak na pinsala na ang mismong proyekto sa kalikasan at pangisdaan ng aming bayan dahil sa reklamasyon. Tinatambakan ng lupa ang baybaying-dagat na pangunahing pinagkukunan ng kabuhayan ng aming mga mangingisda, partikular ng mga nag-aalimango,” Save Gubat Bay Movement President Allan Espallardo said.
(Other than the possibility that there are shoals or coral reefs of being destroyed, the project itself is sure to damage the environment and fisheries because of reclamation. Land is being dumped by the coast that serve as the primary livelihood of fisherfolk, especially those who catch crabs.)
INQUIRER.net has reached out to the DENR for comment, but has not replied as of posting time.