Some a hundred residents of Talibon town voiced their resistance over the planned 40-hectare reclamation project off town’s wharf mainly for environmental and social grounds.
The opposition made their objection to the said project in writing addressed to the last termer Mayor Restituto B. Auxtero thru Vice-Mayor Cleto R. Garcia, the presiding officer of the Sangguniang Bayan.
The official petition letter was furnished to the Sangguniang Panlalawigan (SP) and was referred to the tourism and environment committees.
The petition letter, signed by Judge Avelino Puracan, president of Talibon Chamber of Commerce and Celso Torremocha, president, Kilusang Pagbabago-Bohol, cited nine grounds why they oppose such project.
“It will definitely damage the environment,” the petition said, citing studies on reclamation that showed “adverse impact towards the physiochemical environment, biological environment and social aspects in the coastal areas.”
“It is a fact that climate change has caused the rising of sea levels which can be attested by our fishpond operators and fishermen in the islands,” the petitioners said.
“Scientists believe that if climate change cannot be arrested, by 2050 our sea level will rise by one meter, thus, there is a great risk that the reclaimed area will be covered by sea water putting it to waste, a great damage to our municipality and loss of funds.”
The project, the petition said, will result to loss of mangrove areas and destruction of coral reefs that will lead to a reduction of fish catch that will “push this sector further to greater poverty due to loss of income from their livelihood.”
Aside from this, it said, flooding and inundation of nearby barangays situated in the tributaries of Ipil River feared to cause loss of lives and properties.
The plan for reclamation, if realized, “will create traffic problems in the market area which will result to traffic accidents and loss of lives and properties” even as it will invite informal settlers or squatters and worsen the market overcrowding, “affecting the cleanliness and sanitation” of the town.
The petition said the project “is more expensive” than acquiring lands in adjoining barangays to accommodate the expanding developing needs of the town.
It suggested, however, that instead of the reclamation, why not expand the said development in Barangay San Jose with the proximity of the proposed terminal area to be able to create more economic activities in the town.
If the project is done in San Jose, it may help contribute the appreciation of the land value of the area and Poblacion which will result to more revenues for the government.
The petition cited reclamation in Ubay town “should give us a lesson that for 12 years remains undeveloped since its development “is subject to the business discretion of the developer” even if the town won’t spend a centavo for the project. (rvo)