The Regional Trial Court in Puerto Princesa City last Monday granted the extension of a Temporary Environmental Protection Order (TEPO) against the construction of a Narra Seawall project in Barangay Calategas.
The TEPO is in connection with a Petition for Environmental Protection with Writ of Continuing Mandamus with Prayer for TEPO against the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH), Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), Palawan Council for Sustainable Development (PCSD), PTK Construction Company, and the municipal government of Narra for the construction of the seawall project.
The petition seeks the immediate stoppage of construction activities related to the Narra seawall project was filed by residents of Brgy. Calategas last Thursday. A 72-hour TEPO was first granted by the court last Friday and the petitioners filed a petition for extension when it lapsed on Monday.
During Monday’s hearing, the petitioners TEPO presented Teofilo Tredez and Dr. Jean Jontila as witnesses, after which, the court extended the TEPO until the termination of a case filed against the project.
Atty. Grizelda Mayo-Anda, executive director of Environmental Legal Assistance Center (ELAC) that backs the petitioners said the granting of TEPO is a welcome development and a victory for the environment.
“Fortunately, the court favorably responded to the prayer of the petitioners na i-extend yung TEPO until the duration of the case. In other words, any construction activity related to the Narra seawall should stop habang dinidinig yung kaso,” Mayo-Anda said.
She further explained that the petition is asking the DENR to “set aside the non-coverage of ECC (Environmental Compliance Certificate) and instead pursue a full blown environmental impact assessment.”
“Kasi, in-exempt nila sa EIA (Environmental Impact Assessment) process yung project. So DPWH being the proponent, then they hired PTK as construction as the contractor should stop the construction as of Friday.
Mayo-Anda also said they are still waiting for a notice of hearing for the petition.
“Wala pang notice of hearing pero I think we will move for an ocular inspection, kasi right now according to one of the petitioners, baha doon,” she said.
The seawall project was initiated by Buhay Party List in June 2021 and was immediately with opposition from residents of the barangay, particularly fishermen and farmers. Residents also mounted a signature campaign to halt of the construction.
Narra mayor Gerandy Danao who was serving suspension when the construction was started also blasted the project saying it is not serving its purpose as it is not helping fishermen of the barangay and that it was built only for business interests of some individuals.