Philippine Ports Authority initiated a project that will dredge El Nido’s shallow waters to accommodate Roll On/Roll Off [RORO] Ships. Although they have already secured the Municipal Council’s nod and the Protected Area Management Board’s [PAMB] blessings, they still haven’t presented measures to minimize its impact on the town’s fragile environment, yet. Moreover, they still have to accomplish a long list of requirements set by Palawan Council for Sustainable Development [PCSD].

Surprisingly, the Department of Natural Resources [DENR] issued Environmental Compliance Certificate [ECC] to the PPA. Though the ECC can’t proceed without satisfying the requirements set by DENR, Mayor Leonor D. Corral, immediately issued a hold order to the contractors. This puts the PPA Dredging Project in status quo. However, the project remains a major environmental threat.

In response to the issue, concerned residents of El Nido staged a rally last August 19, 2009. They voiced dissapointment on PPA’s irresponsible implementation of the project. They expressed their protest through a motorcade, a boat parade and a march that all met at the Port of El Nido.

Streamers with “No To Dredging” slogan can still be seen all around the town. The protesters are still waiting for the DENR to recant the ECC it issued earlier and the PPA to formally withdraw the project. [Arvin Acosta, LGU, Photo by Artcafe]