22 hectares of “incomplete unauthorized reclaimed land” in Coron development project was forfeited in favor of the national government. (Photo courtesy of Sagip Coron Palawan)

The Philippine Reclamation Authority (PRA) has ordered the forfeiture of the provincial government’s reclamation project in Coron town.

The PRA, in Resolution No. 5541-2022 issued on June 16, a copy of which was obtained by Palawan News on Monday, ordered the forfeiture of about 22 hectares of reclaimed land in Coron town proper from the “unauthorized reclamation” undertaken by the Provincial Government of Palawan and its joint venture partners.

The decision came after the PRA determined that the project continued without Area Clearance from the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), as primarily directed by President Rodrigo Duterte on March 22 after its meeting with the Sagip Coron Palawan convenors.

National government officials during the ocular inspection conducted on May 26. (Photo courtesy of Sagip Coron Palawan)

The provincial government has yet to issue a statement when sought to comment on the latest pronouncement from the national government.

Bob Magallanes, one of the convenors of Sagip Coron, who was also born and raised in the island town, welcomed the action of the PRA.

“Malaki ang pasasalamat ko sa Sagip Coron members na nagmalasakit sa bayan at para sa susunod na henerasyon, at sa lahat ng hindi Coronians na nagsakripisyo ng oras at pagod para sa bayan,” Magallanes said on Tuesday.

Marion Raagas, also one of the Sagip Coron convenors, stressed that the forfeiture of the illegally reclaimed land is a “major development” not only in terms of it being the first in Philippine history but more so as a “big victory for mother nature and the Coron people”.

Raagas said initial plans with the PRA, DENR, Department of Tourism, DILG, DPWH, AFP, all allied government agencies and the community were underway to work together and come up with a comprehensive and realistic masterplan for Coron.

“We are also hoping that the incoming administration will be supportive in our efforts, hopes and dreams for ordinary people who are affected by illegal reclamation and quarrying—that they may review the Executive Order Coron which SCP’s legal counsel drafted so we can execute the whole of nation approach so much needed reforms for both our country’s development and responsible reclamation and quarrying will be followed and enforced to the letter,” Raagas added.

The Coron Bay Development Project started in 2007 by former Gov. Joel Reyes, who applied for the ECC for a 3-ha project. In 2009, it got another ECC for 48 hectares.

Between 2012 and 2018, the project was halted due to “lack of funds” and reinstated after the Alvarez administration entered into a joint venture with developers for the construction of hotels, docking stations, and other tourism-related facilities in Coron town proper.

The provincial government has yet to issue a statement in response to the PRA action

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is a desk editor and senior reporter of Palawan News. He covers politics, environment, tourism, justice, and sports. In his free time, he enjoys long walks with his dog, Bayani.