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Wednesday, July 24, 2024

CHR rebukes construction of Ormoc Megacity

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THE Commission on Human Rights (CHR) on Tuesday raised concerns over the sentiments from residents of a fishing village in Ormoc City who feared displacement due to the construction of a new Megacity in their locality.

“The Commission acknowledges the affected residents' fear and concerns that this project could negatively impact their household and livelihood, threatening their right to adequate housing and standard of living,” the CHR said.

“Furthermore, we note the potential risks that this project may pose to marine biodiversity and the vital mangrove ecosystem, which not only supports local fishing activities, but also serves as a critical natural barrier against strong waves and floods, particularly during typhoons,” it added.

Environmental advocates and other like-minded organizations warned about the project’s potential impact on the environment and food security of the affected villagers. 

About 500 residents of Barangay Naungan expressed apprehensions over the possibility of abandoning their homes and livelihood due to Premium Lands Corp.’s P80- million eco-park and township development project.

“In line with this, we urge the Premium Land Corp. and the local government of Ormoc City to engage in a genuine and transparent dialogue with the affected communities, environmental experts, and other relevant community organizations. It is imperative to ensure that any development aligns with Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and respects the rights and livelihoods of local residents,” the CHR said in a statement.

The Commission invoked Goal 11 of the United Nations’ SDGs (sustainable development goals) that focus on making cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable with green and culturally inspiring living conditions. This is also incorporated into the Philippine Development Plan and Ambisyon Natin 2040. 

“While we recognize the potential benefits of this project to economic development, job creation and the city’s overall progress, these must not come at the expense of human rights and environmental sustainability,” the CHR stressed.

“The Commission remains committed to protecting the rights of all, particularly the marginalized and disadvantaged. We advocate for a balanced approach that reconciles economic progress with the preservation of natural resources and the well-being of communities that rely on them. After all, genuine development should be inclusive and not leave anyone behind,” it added.

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