DENR re­jects Coron, Palawan un­der­wa­ter theme park project

Manila Bulletin - - News - By VANNE ELAINE P. TERRAZOLA and CHARINA CLARISSE L. ECHALUCE

The Depart­ment of En­vi­ron­ment and Nat­u­ral Re­sources (DENR) yes­ter­day said it will not al­low the es­tab­lish­ment of the 400-hectare un­der­wa­ter re­sort and theme park be­ing pro­posed by an Amer­i­can chil­dren's tele­vi­sion net­work off Coron,Palawan.

DENR Sec­re­tary Gina Lopez stressed that she will not per­mit the con­struc­tion of Nick­elodeon's pro­posed devel­op­ment off the wa­ters of Coron, Palawan.

Lopez said she would not al­low it even as the net­work promised to pro­tect the ocean and con­serve co­ral reefs.

"If it en­tails the de­struc­tion of corals, right away I'll say 'no way.' Fishes need corals. The corals are home of the fishes. And some of the corals have shells and sponges that could cure can­cer," she ex­plained.

"I would never al­low our bio­di­ver­sity to be killed for the money some peo­ple want to make. The Filipino peo­ple are much more im­por­tant, and will al­ways be more im­por­tant than any busi­ness," the en­vi­ron­ment chief stressed.

In a re­lated devel­op­ment, the Depart­ment of Tourism (DOT) said it will reach out to the par­ties in­volved in the planned project.

“The un­der­wa­ter park be­ing planned by Nick­elodeon has reached us at the DOT…. We will talk to all par­ties in­volved in the project,” Tourism un­der­sec­re­tary De Cas­tro as­sured.

Vi­a­com In­ter­na­tional Me­dia Net­works, Nick­elodeon's par­ent com­pany, in a state­ment sent to AFP Tues­day an­nounced it will build an un­der­wa­ter re­sort and theme park on an is­land in Coron which they said aimed to giv­ing the fans a chance to "in­ter­act with the brand and the iconic char­ac­ters they love."

Ron John­son, ex­ec­u­tive vice pres­i­dent of Vi­a­com, said they chose Palawan be­cause it "is known to have some of the most beau­ti­ful beaches in the world to­day."

The Save Philip­pine Seas group ini­ti­ated an on­line pe­ti­tion, which, to date, had gath­ered more than 160,000 sig­na­tures.

“Hon­estly, Coron is al­ready beau­ti­ful in its nat­u­ral state,” De Cas­tro stated.

In 2016, Palawan topped the New York­based mag­a­zine Travel + Leisure's list of World’s Best Is­lands.

Travel + Leisure based the list on the re­sults of its an­nual sur­vey where it asked the read­ers rate des­ti­na­tions all over the world.

The par­tic­i­pants rate the places ac­cord­ing to their ac­tiv­i­ties, sights, nat­u­ral at­trac­tions, beaches, food, friend­li­ness and over­all value.

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