The “Defenders of Tabuan Seas”, a group of more than 600 barangay residents opposing the construction of a port in Tabuan Beach, Purok 4, Barangay Tangnan, Panglao accused Panglao Mayor Leonila Montero of “deliberately misleading” the Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC), Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), Provincial, Municipal and Barangay officials with less than truthful statements on the proposed port issue in their locality.Â
The group also raised deep concerns about the apparent rush for the proposed port construction by no less than the winning bidder of the Php7.2 billion New Bohol Airport – Chiyoda-Mitsubishi Joint Venture with “utter disregard to serious environmental issues surrounding the proposed port”.
“No matter who will construct the port, temporary or permanent, we will not allow a port to destroy our pristine and rich marine resources and displaced workers connected to the six resorts operating in the area”, Esperanza Asperin, a resort owner told theChronicle.
“The mayor even told us during the public forum that there are alternative sites for the proposed port then why is she insisting to put one in Tangnan”, added Asperin.
Montero incurred the ire of residents opposing the construction of a port in Tangnan for informing the DOTC that there is no need for another public forum on the Japanese contractor’s proposal for the construction of a port since only 10% of the population were against the project.
Even the members of the Sangguniang Barangay of Tangnan during their special session on May 5, 2015 agreed for the need of a public hearing and an environmental assesment study to assess the benefits of a port in their community despite the opinion of Barangay Captain Gasate that the council pass a resolution declaring that Tabuan Beach in Tangnan is the only site suitable for a port.
But the council decided to discuss the matter with the Municipal Development Officer to determine if the port qualifies under the existing Comprehensive Land Use Plan (CLUP) of the municipality which classifies all coastal areas in Panglao under tourism/recreation category.
Katsuyuki Yamada, General Manager and Authorized Representative of Chiyoda-Mitsubishi Joint Venture wrote DOTC Project Manager Engr. Florencio G. De la Cruz and Engr. Rosalinda Yu of the Local Project Management Team on April 28, 2015Â to “approve our request for a possible temporary landing pad facility” at Tabuan Beach, Purok 4, Barangay Tangnan, Panglao.
According to Yamada, the purpose of the temporary landing pad facility is “to facilitate our deliveries of aggregates and equipment which will be used in the construction of the New Bohol International Airport”.
Upon the recommendation of the Provincial Environment and Natural Resources Officer (PENRO) a public hearing should be conducted “to facilitate the proper implementation of the proposed project”.
Responding immediately to an invitation to attend a public consultation from Dela CruzÂ to discuss the Japanese proposal, Montero wrote “that the public consultation for the said project had already been done last March 13, 2015 . . .”. adding that majority or 90% of the those present approved the project.
Incensed by Montero’s deliberate disregard for the truth, concerned residents told theÂ ChronicleÂ that the public consultation held on March 13, 2015 at the proposed site in the presence of the Mayor herself and Vice Mayor Pedro FuertesÂ exposed the misrepresentation of their “anointed contractor” Engr. Raul Teleron of his alleged connection with the winning bidder and it’s sub contractor.
“She knew that during the public consultation, a certain Teleron was unmasked and roundly berated by those present for misrepresenting himself as a business partner of Mitsubishi andÂ it’s subcontractor, EEI Corporation without a piece of paper to prove his connections”, said Vito Dumagan, a convenor of the concerned barangay residents.
“There was no consensus reached since the meeting was adjourned for a late lunch because of the late arrival of the Mayor and her entourage”, said Dumagan.
Despite Montero’s knowledge that Teleron, representing C. Harrison PowerÂ Enterprise and Construction Services was disowned by the Japanese Joint Venture, she still wrote the DOTC that “representative of the contractor side had already explained about the project . . .” apparently referring to Teleron, according to Dumagan.
“The mayor cannot claim ignorance of Teleron’s credentials since she and Governor Chatto was furnished a copy of Yamada’s letterÂ emailed to theÂ ChronicleÂ Editor on March 13, 2015 disavowing any connection with C Harrison Power’s port project”, fumed Dumagan.
Montero further told the DOTC that the proposed port project “was supported by a barangay resolution of Tangnan “Resolution No. 12-14, series of 2014” and has been adopted and endorsed by municipal resolution “Resolution No. 17, series of 2015”.
Asperin, owner of Al Mira Diving Resort in Barangay Tangnan rebuked Montero for failing to inform the DOTC that the Tangnan Barangay Council unanimously adopted Resolution No. 03-2015 on February 23, 2015 withdrawing their signatures affixed on Resolution No. 12-14 series of 2014 which they claimed was only a draft resolution.
According to the barangay council, the draft resolution authorizing C Harrison to construct a jetty port and authorizing Barangay Captain Cirilo Gasate to enter into a Memorandum of Agreement with Teleron for the port construction “was deceptively used as an official document to support claims” of C Harrison and is against our intent and purpose”.
TheÂ ChronicleÂ learned that a scheduled public consultation on May 6, 2015 was reset for next week after affected residents objected to the short notice issued for the meeting.
Concerned residents stressed that they are not against the speedy completion of the airport but said “if the funders of the airport is boasting about their strict adherence to a sustainable environmental airport project then it should also extend this advocacy to the proposed port project in Tangnan”.
The proposed port project will be located in Tabuan Beach several meters from seven diving resorts and smack right into the world renowned Napaling dive spot and close toÂ the home of twenty giant clams or taklobos nestled for the rest of their lives in a marine protected area in neighboring Barangay Bingag, Dauis.
The proposed port project perceived by residents as dead on the waterÂ was previously known as a “jetty port”, then a “beach landing facility” and now a “temporary landing pad”Â has been revived by no less than the winning bidder Chiyoda-Mitsubishi Joint Venture, the winning bidder of the Php7.2 billion New Bohol Airport.
An joint ocular inspection has been conducted by the DENR, DOTC and the Japanese contractor in the area which is considered near the airport construction area and will handle the continuous delivery and handling of materials and equipments.
Consisting of a mooring bollard for the docking of the barges and a ramp located in the land side, the landing pad will be made of structural steel and plates according to the design criteria.
Steel piles shall be pitched and driven into the reefs of Tabuan beach while an approach road or ramp will be provided connecting the access road and the temporary landing pad.
The choice of Tabuan Beach in Tangnan for the temporary landing pad will minimize overloading of the roads and bridges leading to the airport construction site and avoid traffic congestion near Tagbilaran City.
The battle for the hearts and minds of residents of Barangay Tangnan, Panglao is now in high gear with economic and environment issues heading for a clash with more than 3000 residents caught in the middle and the fate of the Php7.2 billion airport project snagged in a controversial port project.Â (CMV)