(UPDATED) The Palawan NGO Network, Inc. (PNNI) has filed a complaint against the provincial government at the Palawan Council for Sustainable Development (PCSD) for the alleged destruction of mangroves in Barangay Corong-Corong, El Nido, to build a road that will only serve “a molten calf tourism industry” and not the residents.
In a complaint letter sent to the PCSD on April 8, PNNI executive director Atty. Robert Chan said the provincial government also carved a mountain and fenced off the mangrove area to divide it into several lots which are a violation of environmental laws.
Chan said the road being built through the mangroves is from a hotel all the way to up to a Zipline location and an overlooking tourist lodging house.
He said on March 13, their para-enforcers verified the reports to be true.
“Time and again, our Network has called the attention of the Council to numerous road projects being undertaken by the provincial government in the guise of an Integrated Natural Resources Management Project (INRMP) co-management plan and memorandum of agreement (MOA) disadvantageously entered into by the DENR with the former,” Chan pointed out.
The project was intended for business and tourism and “not to serve the ordinary Palaweños,” he said.
Chan pointed out that the “real scheming transgression” of this project is its disregard for the Environmentally Critical Areas Network (ECAN) zones labeled “as passing through both core and traditional zones”.
The many projects of the provincial government should comply with the Integrated Natural Resources Management Project (INRMP) co-management plan and memorandum of agreement (MOA) with the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR).
Chan also added that the PCSD should enforce the ban on structures in the ECAN core zone and the required Free, Prior and Informed Consent (FPIC) in traditional zones.
“A Cease and Desist Order for the road project and an immediate dismantling of the fences in and around the mangrove area should be in order if this Council still believes in saving a resource; because the earth carved from the mountain is being dumped in the mangrove area and the latter is being fenced with subdivisions for the occupation,” Chan added.
On April 17, the PNNI posted on its PNNI posted on its Facebook social media page with the question: “Who is fencing mangroves in El Nido?”
Its caption alleged that a hotel in the area “is owned by the governor.”
“PNNI para-enforcers discover a mangrove area being fenced and divided into lots in Corong-Corong, El Nido. They were also surprised to find a new road being built thru the mangroves from a hotel, all the way up to a zip line and pension house on a hill. The soil from the road was being dumped into the mangrove area apparently for developing individual lots. Residents in the area secretly relayed that the hotel is allegedly owned by the governor. PNNI has already filed for a demolition order for the barbed wire fences. It seems the infrastructure work in Palawan is more for tourists and business than for poor palawenos [sic],” it said.