Negros Oriental Bans Reclamation Projects in Marine Protected Areas
A total of 46 Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) are declared as “reclamation-free zones” as of September 27, 2021. The proposed ordinance dated August 23, 2021, is now official, upon the voting of Negros Oriental Board Members against the Governor’s Veto with 12-0-0.
Proposed Ordinance for Marine Protected Areas in Negros Oriental
On August 23, 2021, Ordinance No. 29 Series of 2021 was proposed by the Sangguniang Panlungsod (Provincial Council). In the said ordinance, 46 MPAs are banned for any kind of reclamation activity. The regular session was presided by Vice-Governor Eduard Mark L. Macias. The Reclamation-Free Zones shall cover the areas identified, delineated and established as Marine Protected Areas. This includes their buffer zones, by ordinances of municipal and component cities that have been approved and adopted by the Sangguniang Panlalawigan. Thus, becoming a part of the Marine Protected Areas Network on Negros Oriental.
Governor Roel Degamo’s Veto
Negros Oriental Provincial Governor Roel Degamo has reportedly vetoed the new proposed ordinance or resolution by the provincial board. The reported reason of the veto is that such proposed ordinance is tainted with legal defects because under the law. In which, the Philippine Reclamation Authority has the power to decide where to or not to build coastal reclamations. Under the Local Government Code, it has full autonomy on its coastal management and MPAs and is answerable to the PRA and not to the provincial board.
This resulted to the belief of city and provincial minds that such proposed ordinance is tainted with legal if not constitutional defects, which will likely be challenged in the Supreme Court before it reaches first base.
The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) or the Local Government Units have exclusive but joint authorities and jurisdictions to establish, protect, oversee, and manage Marine Protected Areas. The provincial governments merely help sustain the MPAs.
Board Members override Degamo’s VETO
Vice Governor Eduard Mark L. Macias presided the voting against the governor’s veto in regard to the ordinance/resolution of reclamation projects in the province. A total of twelve board members voted to override the veto. Therefore, under the said ordinance, 46 MPAs in Negros Oriental will be declared “reclamation-free zones,” prohibiting all foreshore and offshore reclamation activities in these areas.
The following board members voted to override Degamo’s veto:
- Chester V. Lim (1st district)
- Valente D. Yap (1st district)
- Jose “Petit” Baldado (2nd district)
- Erwin Macias (2nd district)
- Estanislao Alviola (2nd district)
- Mariant Escaño Villegas (2nd district)
- Jack Raymond (3rd district)
- Peter Paul “Popoy” Renacia (3rd district)
- Kit Marc Adanza (3rd district)
- Adem Maxino (Sangguniang Kabataan)
- Manuel “Chaco” Sagarbarria (Philippine Councilors’ League)
- Kurt Matthew Teves (Liga ng mga Barangay)
Marine Protected Areas in Negros Oriental
Amlan – Bio-os Marine Reserve, Tandanyag Marine Reserve
Ayungon – Anibong Marine Sanctuary, Awaan Marine Sanctuary, Calag-calag Fish Sanctuary, Iniban Marine Reserve, Tiguib Marine Sanctuary, Tampocon I Marine Sanctuary
Bacong – Buntis Marine Sanctuary
Bais City – Sanlangan Marine Sanctuary
Basay – Bongalonan Marine Sanctuary
Bayawan City – Malabugas Lampirong Marine Reserve, Pagatban Lampirong Reserve, Villareal Lampirong Reserve
Bindoy – Balaas Marine Reserve, Cabugan Marine Reserve, Malaga Marine Reserve, Pangalaycayan Marine Sanctuary, Tinaogan Marine Reserve
Dauin – Apo Island Marine Reserve, Bahura Marine Reserve, Bulak Marine Reserve, Maayong Tubig Marine Reserve, Masaplod Sur Marine Reserve, Masaplod Norte Marine Reserve, North Lipayo Marine Reserve, Poblacion District 1 Marine Reserve, South Lipayo Marine Sanctuary
Dumaguete City – Banilad Marine Sanctuary and Reservation Area, Bantayan Marine Reserve, Lo-oc Marine Sanctuary and Reservation Area, Mangnao Marine Sanctuary and Reservation Area
Guihulngan City – Hilaitan Marine Reserve, Malusay Marine Reserve
La Libertad – San Jose Marine Reserve
Manjuyod – Bolisong Marine Sanctuary, Campuyo Marine Sanctuary
San Jose – Poblacion Marine Reserve
Siaton – Andulay Marine Reserve, Antulang Marine Reserve, Bonbonon Marine Reserve, Salag Marine Reserve
Sibulan – Agan-an Marine Reserve, Cangmating Marine Reserve
Tanjay City – Polo Marine Reserve
Tayasan – Cabulotan Marine Reserve
Zamboanguita – Basak Marine Sanctuary, Lutoban Marine Reserve
Penalty for any person who violates this ordinance shall be imprisoned not exceeding 1 year or a fine not exceeding five thousand pesos (Php 5,000.00), or both at the discretion of the court. If the violation of the said ordinance is committed by a juridical entity, dully organized in accordance with law, the president, board of directors or trustee, general manager, or such other officer in charge shall be held liable. The business permit and license to operate of the concerned entity shall be canceled upon commission of the offense.