Press Release
July 29, 2021

Hontiveros: Probe Dumaguete City reclamation project for involvement with China-based subcontractor, environmental threats

Senator Risa Hontiveros has filed a resolution urging the Senate to investigate the involvement of a China-based subcontractor in the proposed 174-hectare reclamation project in Dumaguete City.

In proposed Senate Resolution No. 807, Hontiveros expressed alarm that the City Council may have entered into an 'anomalous agreement' with Filipino construction firm E.M. Cuerpo.

Hontiveros revealed that E.M. Cuerpo, which does not have an established track record in reclamation work, then made a deal with China-based, state-owned company Poly Changda Overseas Engineering Co., Ltd as its reclamation subcontractor. According to reports, this has fueled suspicions that E.M. Cuerpo is a mere dummy of the Chinese state-owned company.

"Hanggang dito ba naman, kakamkamin pa rin ng China? Sa isang Memorandum of Agreement, pumayag ang Poly Changda na maging reclamation subcontractor ng EM Cuerpo and as payment, it will sell its share in the reclaimed lands and use the proceeds to pay Poly Changda. Dummy lang ba talaga ang EM Cuerpo? This needs to be investigated closely," she said.

The reclamation project has been getting strong resistance from various sectors because of the environmental damage from creating at least two islands through reclamation.

"We are talking about the home of 38,000 people. The projected economic gains from the smart city reclamation project do not justify the intensity of the expected social and environmental losses that we will have to endure," Hontiveros said.

Hontiveros cited Philippine Association of Marine Sciences (PAMS) earlier warning that the reclamation project will destroy, --literally kill— hectares of productive coral reefs and seagrass beds. She adds, an activity of this scale will also endanger the food security & livelihood of more than 900 local fishers and their families. Furthermore, it threatens to worsen flooding in the coastal barangays.

Hontiveros hopes that through a probe, the senate could pursue reforms in relevant laws that protect the environment, fight against graft and corruption, enhance security and defense, public-private partnership & anti-dummy policies among others.

"Malaki ang banta ng pagkapinsala at pagkaubos ng yamang-dagat na pinagkukunan ng ating mga kababayan sa Dumaguete. Kailangang aksyunan ito at silipin agad ng gobyerno, lalo pa't may posibleng involvement ang isang Chinese state-owned company na agresibong kumakamkam sa ating mga karagatan sa West Philippine Sea. Hindi natin dapat hayaang nakawin nanaman ng China ang ating kabuhayan at ang ating likas na yaman. Kasama natin sa pagtindig ang mga taga-Dumaguete," Hontiveros concluded.

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