Owners of Samal resort seek review of environmental certificate of bridge project

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A FAMILY that owns resorts on Samal Island has asked the new administration to intervene in the Samal-Davao Bridge project by canceling its Environmental Compliance Certificate (ECC) and carrying out a reassessment.

Attorney Julito R. Sarmiento, one of the Rodriguez family’s legal advisors, said the ECC issued by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) on January 4, 2021 was null and void because it had not been authorized by the Protected Area Management Board.

Sarmiento said he sent a July 20 letter to President Ferdinand R. Marcos, Jr., DENR Secretary Ma. Antonia Yulo-Loyzaga and Public Works Secretary Manuel M. Bonoan asking them to review the alignment of the bridge.

The bridgeThe landing site on the Samal side will cover a reef between Paradise Island Park and Beach Resort and Costa Marina Beach Resort, both owned by the family.

We call on the current administration to cancel the JCE and conduct a new Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA), honestly, and inform people,he told the media last week.

The EIA should consider what the alternative sites are.

Another family legal advisor, Marcelino C. Rongo, said all possible lineups should have an EIA to determine which would be the best option.

An EIA is a planning tool and if you are only assessing one area for the sole purpose of justifying a decision that has already been made, then it is not a real EIA. This makes the ECC null,he said in a mixture of English and Filipino.

Mr. Rongo also said that the entire island of Samal was declared a protected area in 1981 and that a proposal to reduce the area covered by this declaration has not yet been approved by presidential decree or law.

Mr Sarmiento said they were ready to take the matter to court but would exhaust all other possible avenues of appeal first.

Part of the current government’s key agenda is sustainable development and environmental protection. This is what the president mentioned in his state of the nation address, so we hope and expect the president’s office to respond to us,he said.

Mr. Sarmiento pointed out that the owners of the station are only questioning the alignment and that they fully support the bridge project, which is considered to bring faster economic development to the island.

The Philippine government under the previous administration of President Rodrigo R. Duterte signed a $350 million loan agreement with China on June 13 for the bridge connecting Samal Island to mainland Mindanao in the country.is to the south.

The bridge was proposed years before Mr Duterte was elected countrys general manager. He was included in his administrations priority infrastructure program.

In January 2021, the Department of Public Works and Highways and China Road and Bridge Corporation signed a 19.32 billion peso design and construction contract for the project, which was a condition precedent to the request for an agreement from ready with China. Maya M. Padillo

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