September 29, 2023
Kinaiyahan & FENOr
Ombudsman complaint filed against Dumaguete Mayors illegal project
Dumaguete City – The unauthorized extension of Pantawan 2 by Mayor Felipe Remollo’s administration raised concerning evidence of impunity as the latter again failed to comply with its legal obligations connected with the reclamation project, thereby illegally disbursing government funds in violation of procurement laws and policies.
It can be recalled that the reclamation known as Pantawan 2 was started in 2019 without securing first the required permits and approvals from the Philippine Reclamation Authority (PRA) and Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR).
In the letters and subsequent follow-ups sent by the NoTo174Dumaguete Coalition & Volunteer Network to and PRA and DENR between March to September 2023, the said agencies wrote in response to inform that no application to reclaim was received by the PRA and that DENR 7 has not issued nor recommended the issuance of an Environmental Compliance Certificate (ECC).
In relation to this development, two environmental NGOs, Kahugpongan Para sa Kinabuhi ug Kinaiyahan (Kinaiyahan) and Friends of the Environment in Negros Oriental (FENOr), and several concerned citizens signed today before the City/Provincial Fiscal a verified complaint consisting of 44 pages.
The complainants plead for an investigation by the Office of the Ombudsman, praying for criminal and administrative charges against the respondent city officials for violation of Republic Act 3019, which declares that it is unlawful for any public officer to cause “any undue injury to any party, including the Government, or giving any private party any unwarranted benefits, advantage or preference in the discharge of his official administrative or judicial functions through manifest partiality, evident bad faith or gross inexcusable negligence.”
The implementation of the reclamation works sans due diligence embedded in the permitting process shrunk democratic spaces for public participation in ensuring that communities affected are included in decision-making processes and environmental impacts are mitigated in light of a global climate emergency.
Kinaiyahan and FENOr urged the City Government to stop the illegal reclamations in the guise of shoreline protection and, instead, invest in smarter, less expensive, and regenerative projects that protect our marine ecosystem, enable coastal forestry, and ensure the stewardship of fishing communities are upheld. #