DENR rejects Coron, Palawan underwater theme park project
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.