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Charting New Lands: The Case of Cordova Reclamation Project

POLITICAL SCIENCE 189 Environmental Politics & Policy

Clarissa Beth Degamo

on 10 October 2012

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Transcript of Charting New Lands: The Case of Cordova Reclamation Project

Charting New Lands: The Case of Cordova Reclamation Project CRP Reclamation projects that are as massive as the CRP have great effects both on the local and national level.
Cordova’s natural environment as being a coastal municipality affects their culture and the ways to which how they exist as a community. Thus, the majorly affected stakeholders- the residents of Cordova who thrive upon its marine resources as a means of livelihood and survival which supports more than 70% of the whole population of the municipality. They are, however, in a position to gain potential employment both as construction workers with the on-going reclamation project and as workers for future firms and companies that might need their services on the newly created land, residents of Cordova through offering its coasts, seas and bays for resources extraction. POLITICAL SCIENCE 189
Environmental Politics & Policy
Coastal land reclamation projects have been a common feature in many countries in Asia. The aim is to boost economic development and relieve congestion.. From Singapore to South Korea, many countries from Southeast Asia are reclaiming vast tracts of coastline to provide space for new factories, homes and recreation. but these projects also create social & environmental problems This is also the dilemma faced by land reclamation projects in the Philippines. In 2011, the Philippine Reclamation Authority (PRA) Board of Directors approved the National Reclamation Plan (NRP) with 102 reclamation projects scattered around the country, totaling to 5,800 ha of “new” land. Among these areas,
the Municipality of Cordova will reclaim 3,000 hectares of coastline. This projected named as the Cordova Reclamation Project (CRP) is the most ambitious and one of biggest reclamation projects in the country, even in Southeast Asia. Nonetheless, this hot topic of debate is what the researchers aim to resolve.
The researchers wish to juxtapose Lucas Seghezzo’s 5 Dimension of Sustainability:
the three-dimension place, permanence and people with the Cordova Reclamation project. Towards the end of the said study, the researchers would eventually be able to infer and recommend policy implications that may hopefully mitigate the effects of the on-going reclamation project. STATEMENT OF
THE PROBLEM This research study seeks to answer the question on -
How does the Cordova Reclamation answer the issue of development, as generally understood now, in the municipality of Cordova? What are the social, economic, political and ecological costs of the Cordova Reclamation Project? What are the possible policy implications to address the conflicting views that are met in the operationalization of the Cordova Reclamation Project? Does the Cordova Reclamation Project coincide with the five dimensions of sustainable development? OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY This study aims to juxtapose the Cordova Reclamation Project with the five dimensions of sustainability.Specifically, this study seeks to: Identify the physical, geographical, cultural, spatial and social elements of the Cordova Reclamation Project. Identify whether or not the Cordova Reclamation project coincide with the theoretical paradigm that is the 5 dimensions of sustainability Draw policy inferences from this analysis to show the value of doing theoretical inquiry SCOPE &
LIMITATIONS This research is a descriptive study of the on-going Cordova Reclamation Project (CRP).
It describes the project, its history and the various effects it has to the environment and society. In the evaluation of the social impacts of the Cordova reclamation project, the researchers will focus on the folks residing along the coastal area and nearby residential areas that are affected by the project and its operation. For the evaluation on social impacts, researchers will only focus on, but not limit to, the folks residing along the coastal area and nearby residential areas that are affected by the project and its operation.

Thus, it will be limited only to the output that the respondents from the representatives of the organized fisher folks will provide such as data and information that will come from their reports, as well as the information from literatures that will be cited and reviewed. significance of the study THE GOVERNMENT The People of Cordova students doing research THEORETICAL BACKGROUND WCED Definition of Sustainable Development The concept of sustainable development was launched by the WCED as a ‘global objective’ to guide policies orientated to balance ‘economic and social systems and ecological conditions’. It is often represented with the ‘triple bottom line’ of economy, environment, and society 5 Dimensions of Sustainability by Lucas Seghezzo Place contains the spatialised, timed, sensed and embodied dimensions of nature that incorporates notions of culture, local ways of life, and human physical and psychological health. However, place is restricted only to the realm of intra-generational equity. Permanence, the fourth, temporal dimension is a more ‘ideal’, abstract and subjective projection of events from the other corners into the future. Persons as the symbol of the people as individual human beings and not as undifferentiated members of the society making the 5th dimension of sustainability more inclusive and plural CONCEPTUAL FRAMEWORK THE CORDOVA RECLAMATION PROJECT:
Brief History and Description The Municipality of Cordova is a town in Metro Cebu. It is located in the southeastern part of Mactan Island. It has a total land area of 846 hectares (or 8.46 km2) and is separated from the Mactan mainland during high tide by two narrow channels that reach in from the sea. The town has 13 barangays3 of which only one is landlocked. (Montenegro et al. 2002, p6).
Cordova also takes pride of its abundant marine resources and habitats. The vast mangrove covers that ensembles like perimeter fences surrounding the mainland prevents the big waves to intrude the dry land and provides food to the some thousands of kilograms of fishes and other marine dependents. The unique and the long variety of sea grasses that can be mistaken as a paved road from a distance during low tide is also a habitat of the dangguit and the other herbivorous fishes. Coastal Resources Management has been considered by the Municipality of Cordova as one of the basic services. Project Description
and History As early as 1977, the Municipality of Cordova had entered into a contract with the Malayan Integrated Industries Corporation (MIIC), a Manila-based developer, for the reclamation of its foreshore area.
This contract was approved by the Office of the President of the Philippines in May 1996.
The private developer was to assume all costs relating to the construction and the resulting newly created land was to be shared between the developer and the local and national government (through the Office of the President – Public Estates Authority)
The project costs were estimated at Php 37.5 billion in 1997 prices (Malayan Integrated Industries 1997). 1989 2010 1999 (cc) image by jantik on Flickr Cebu province and Philippine Estate Authority also signed a MOA = all reclamation projects under the province of Cebu should be duly signed and approved by Pres. Aquino. So the MOA signed by Cordova and Malayan is deemed to be null/void because former executive secretary of PEA Macaraeg declared that the MOA for the project was “disapproved thus, no force/effect.” The Office of the President revoked the memorandum it issued granting MIIC the exclusive authority to reclaim Cordova’s foreshore area. It also denied the provincial government’s claim.
In fact, the mayor, who won another term of office during the May 2004 general elections, has proposed a 200-hectare reclamation project along the coast that would encompass the two southeastern barangays, Alegria and Poblacion Early 2009, news came out that a South Korean company(Zan Hai International Trade Ltd) would help the Cordova LGU to find an investor for the CRP = contract of investment between the the LGU and Zan Hai. A said Cordova Development Committee was created to ensure Korean investors in Cordova. Legal Implications of CRP: The following are the laws that basically cover and affect the operationalization of the CRP in the municipality.
•1987 Philippine Constitution
Section 16 of Article II: “The State shall protect and advance the right of the people to a balanced and healthful ecology in accord with the rhythm and harmony of nature”
•PD 1586 (Environmental Impact Assessment Act)
All agencies must prepare an environmental impact statement for every proposed project and undertaking which significantly affect the quality of the environment
•RA 7160 (Local Government Code)
Public hearings

•EO 672 (Responsibilities of PEA (now PRA))
All reclamation projects shall be approved by the now PRA. Prior to approval of any reclamation project, the PRA (PEA) is hereby directed to coordinate and secure from DENR a permit authorizing/clearing a particular area to be the site of the proposed reclamationproject, otherwise known as the area permit or site clearance.
•RA 8550 (Fisheries Code of 1998)An act providing for the development, management and conservation of the fisheries and aquatic resources, integrating all laws pertinent thereto, and for other purposes
•RA 9485 (Anti-Red Tape Act)An act to improve efficiency in the delivery of government service to the public by reducing bureaucratic red tape, preventing graft and corruption, and providing penalties therefore.
•Rules of Procedures of Environmental Cases
OTHER PLANS FOR CRP mini-boracay
condominiums golf course
trans central highway let's discuss Fishing and seashell gathering is the primary source of livelihood of the folks and the ongoing construction of the project will result to the destruction of the seas and all its resources which the people of Cordova depend for a living. On the site location itself, it can be seen that the vast group of mangroves which serve as habitats for thriving marine creatures are destroyed and that a thick mass of sea grasses shall be soon covered with landfill for the project.

The disturbance of these would result to the disturbance of the marine ecosystem and the diversity that is very rich in the coastlines of Cordova. They are highly valuable ecosystems which provide a variety of resources. They are, for example, crucial in the maintenance of productivity in the fisheries sector. CRP The disturbance of these would result to the disturbance of the marine ecosystem and the diversity that is very rich in the coastlines of Cordova. They are highly valuable ecosystems which provide a variety of resources. They are, for example, crucial in the maintenance of productivity in the fisheries sector. The loss of intertidal flats and coral areas are among the major environmental costs of coastal reclamation.

The creation of reclamation projects also disturb the whole mechanism of how the current or the water flows naturally. As a resulting effect, waters might tend to get shallow, muddy and quality deteriorates as to appearing incompatible for quality and healthy water resource.
Quarrying upland areas do not only threaten forestry but also present danger to the nearby communities due to landslides, pollution (air, water and noise) and other occupational hazards that it might possess.

The most common complaints centered around four issues: noise, dust, rock/landslides, and increased hazards on roads from large quarry trucks in a hurry to meet supply deadlines. With the operation of this project an inevitable effect of course, is the additional reason for the deterioration of the health conditions of the stakeholders caused by any temporary increase in noise and dust pollution caused by construction work. The project implementers who are defending the pursuance of the said project would also make “livelihood” as a reason for such operation. The once fishermen, fish vendors, and small mananagat will have new jobs in the resort as waiters/waitresses, janitors, managers, or maybe lifeguards.
Another local stakeholder is the local government unit (LGU). It is in a position where the municipality could gain an increase in the sales or lease of any newly created land or from tax revenues from any new establishments in the area. Are the economic benefits promised by the project enough to outweigh its environmental and social effects inside and outside the community? ANALYSIS The framework that this study presented described the dimensions that would make the CRP sustainable. These are the Cordovanhon (person), its municipality (place) and the CRP in the long run (permanence.) Also, discussed earlier were the enumerated future plans for the CRP-
how the CRP would affect the residents of Cordova and the effect that the CRP has on its locality and as well as society,
may it be viewed in a positive perspective, as it creates the possibility to attract tourists and generate jobs for the local residents,
or in a negative light, it may destroy the livelihood of Cordovanhons, the environment of Cordova while leaving the people of the locality feeling unhappy and loss of its real identity as Cordovahons, that which is mostly of the mananagats. The Planning stage for the CRP has been phenomenal.
There are concrete plans of actions as to what the developers are planning to do with the area. It will be transformed into a prime tourist destination that will not only help in boosting the economy of the local government and the national economy of the Philippines but it would also help in stabilizing the maritime traffic of the nearby islands. The effects of the CRP to its municipality are uncertain.

As it was stated, it would boost the economy and the tourism industry of the municipality. However, the project has major impacts on the environment of Cordova. It can cause harm to the marine resources of the municipality which are the major sources of income and the reason for Cordova to be known in the entire province. These impacts would waste most of their resources and would jeopardize their industry. At the same time, the culture that they preserved would be distorted as new cultural patterns were introduced to the locals. Thus, looking it in the paradigm of sustainability by Lucas Seghezzo, we may find: PLACE Geographically, culturally and naturally, we could see that the Cordova Reclamation Project, though geographically altering the landscape of the area, it falls short as it negatively affects both the cultural and the natural – that is its livelihood and environment respectively.

The culture of Cordovanhons, as exemplified in the way of life of the mananagat, is being put into the risk. Due to the abovementioned loss of sea grass, fishes and other marine creatures, the marine ecosystem would not be able to sustain the growth of marine creatures, thus risking the people’s livelihood. PERMANENCE Looking at the CRP in the long run, though it may elicit positive impacts, like boosting economy of the locality, negative impacts should, at the same time, be taken into consideration.

A sustainable development is endeavored where the people and the environment will be able to cope with the changes. Today’s generation of Cordovanhons should not be the only priority but also the future generations, thus intergenerational justice. The sustainability of the said project in the long run, is still a question. PERSON Seeing that the Cordovahons are made up of more than 70% of fisher folks, it would of course leave the said individuals unhappy as a result of the project, as seen in the constant struggling of the fisher folks on the possibility of mitigating the environmental cause of the said project and to get support so as their voices may be heard.

Other than that, though other fisherfolks may have jobs in the construction, it would eventually be a short time job and would eventually leave them looking for other sources of money and livelihood after the project.

Further, given that Cordovahons are not only living near the coastal areas but they are made up, as I have mentioned, majority of fisher folks, this means of living has been the identity they had acquired throughout a long period of time, and with the sudden change of livelihood, comes with the confusion of their identity leaving them questioning what it is they are going to do. CONCLUSION &
RECOMMENDATIONS The first thing to do is to expose the situation of the Cordova Reclamation Project (CRP) to the public through an extensive information drive: conducting group discussions, campaigns and education.

In this way, the public will be aware of the actual condition and decide on themselves on the possible actions to be undertaken. There are a number of policy recommendations being adopted by Dr. Lourdes Montenegro and colleagues in her study of Environmental Costs of reclamation projects basing from the DAO and the EGF given in every approved ECCs of proposed reclamation projects.

Since the project has been operationalized, what we can do as far as policy recommendation is concerned, is to mitigate and help guide the design for implementation that in a way lessens the impact of the project. There is also something to be said regarding the mechanics of deciding the amount to be
set aside for an Environmental Guarantee Fund. An EGF is required by Philippine law (Department Administrative Order No. 37 Series of 1996) for projects which are deemed by the DENR to pose significant public risk or entail rehabilitation/restoration expenses.

The DAO 96-37 states that a significant public risk may be presumed if the following conditions exist:
(a) the presence of toxic chemical and hazardous as defined in Republic Act No. 6969;
(b) the extraction of natural resources that requires rehabilitation or restoration;
(c) the presence of structures that could endanger life, property and the environment in case of failure; or
(d) the presence of processes that may cause pollution as defined under previous pollution laws.
As enumerated in the DAO 96-37 Procedural Manual, an EGF may be used for the following purposes:

(a) the immediate rehabilitation of areas affected by damage to the environment and the resulting deterioration of environmental quality as a direct consequence of project construction, operation and abandonment;

(b) the just compensation of parties and communities affected by the negative impacts of the project;
(c) the conduct of scientific or research studies that will aid in the prevention or rehabilitation of accidents and/or environmental damages; or

(d) contingency clean-up activities, environmental enhancement measures, damage prevention program, and social equity measures. However the valuation of how much budget should be allocated for the EGF will be decided through negotiations between the proponent and DENR. On the other hand, the project is not participatory and it goes against the wishes of the people. The people are the ones primarily affected by the project. Communication management and integration is needed with both internal and external clients, stakeholders, and other interests. Communication also to broaden existing alliances with the Cebuanos Opposed to Reclamation (CORE) and Cebuanos Against Reclamation (CARE). Therefore, the affected community should be able to take part in the negotiation and decision-making for the budget allocation of the EGF. With the social, cultural, economic, geographical and environmental impacts of the Cordova Reclamation Project CRP, having been discussed in the light of the theory on the dimensions of sustainability, it will all boil down to the idea of neo-humanism to speak in general.
Neo-humanism, as a newly explained idea of humanism will explain the CRP’s effect not only to the human beings (person) but to all the living, plants and animals alike. the end
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