|Twin Peaks, Coron, Palawan|
Article by: Nysha Tan
Earlier last week, Viacom International Media Networks and Coral World Sea Park (CWP) announced they have collaborated to build a new resort and attraction for Nickelodeon in the Philippines. More specifically, in Coron, Palawan, one of the most pristine and untouched islands left in the world.
|Banol Beach, Coron, Palawan.|
Initially thought to be an underwater theme park, alarmed citizens and environmentalists alike took to the internet to cast their disapproval about the construction.
Let's just keep our world as natural as it can be. We don't need a park because Coron's beauty is a blessing to us.#CoronIsNotBikiniBottom— Four Days Polls (@fourdayspolls) January 11, 2017
— ayla salapare (@aylarhey) January 10, 2017
Susan Lee, Marketing & Communications Director of the Coral World Park, clarified that her company's project is a resort and 'an undersea attraction with an ocean conservation' with no plans of building a theme park. The resort is reportedly set to include restaurants and lounges that are 6 meters (20 feet) below sea level as well.
Save the Philippine Seas have reported that although CWP has 'coordinated with the relevant officials of the Philippine government', a representative from the Palawan Council for Sustainable Development (PCSD), responded that they only learned about the large-scale project through the media.
On January 12, individuals against the project met up with the Chairman of Coral World Park Undersea Resorts Inc. to discuss their concerns and requested for the company's master plan of the park. The corporation has yet to reveal their master plan.
Subsequently, Executive Director of Save the Philippine Seas, Anna Oposa, and GreenPeace Philippines’ Oceans Campaigner, Vince Cinches, have written a letter addressed to Nickelodeon Philippines expressing their concerns on behalf of thousands of other citizens.
LOOK: Environmental groups' letter to Nickelodeon Philippines | @Ivysaunar pic.twitter.com/nJwfa08x3X— CNN Philippines (@cnnphilippines) January 16, 2017
Here is an excerpt of the letter:
“We are alarmed that your brand is associated with a project that threatens to deprive future generations of one of the wonders of nature. Coron, Palawan is a land filled with beautiful beaches, amazing coral reefs, and wonderful wilderness areas.
The Coral World Park Attraction that bears the Nickelodeon brand (“Attraction”) threatens to inflict grave and irreparable injury to the Coron ecosystem. The infrastructure works on the attraction alone threatens not just the marine ecosystem, but the migratory patterns and bats in the area.
We, on our part, shall remain vigilant in monitoring the developments relating to the Attraction. We shall ensure that Coron and the surrounding ecosystem are respected and protected.
We implore Viacom to exercise extraordinary diligence in this venture. We implore you to carefully examine not just the concept or the vision of the attraction as your partner Coral World Park Undersea Attraction has no history of conservation work in the Philippines and we question their capacity to implement the biggest reef conservation in Asia.”
Environmentalists and concerned citizens continued to contest the project at the Nickelodeon Philippines Office just as the letter was delivered on January 15. While they await for the network’s response, they will ‘remain vigilant to make sure Coron, Palawan is respected & protected.’
Nickelodeon’s undersea attraction and resort will be part of something even bigger: Coral World Park (CWP), a 400-hectare undersea-themed development. Viacom, Nickelodeon’s parent company, stated their 100-hectare attraction is said to ‘advocate sea protection’ when it opens in 2020-- which begs the question: Is the construction of the attraction worth the cost of the natural environment?
The decision to educate the public by establishing an invasive structure within a delicate ecosystem is quite confounding. The construction alone will potentially destroy coral reefs, disrupt aquatic and non-aquatic migration patterns, and breed unwanted disease-carrying pests like mosquitoes. The attraction also poses the risk of pollution: waste, like plastics and untreated sewage, that could end up in Coron’s crystal clear seas, can endanger the animals that live its waters. And with the current burden of curbing water pollution in the bay , the development might bring more irreversible and devastating impacts than mere money-making entertainment.
Citizens have cited that the natural wonders of Coron are already enough to educate the public about protecting the ocean.
Palawan's beauty alone is enough to show,educate what's there in the sea.No need for sea attraction. #CoronIsNotBikiniBottom @NickelodeonTV pic.twitter.com/93dq9AICsx— Haid Eam (@DiahAbida) January 16, 2017
YEP. Coron, Palawan is attractive enough as it is; no need for a theme park to bring tourists in! #CoronIsNotBikiniBottom https://t.co/6VA2ldKQ2Z— Jean Utzurrum (@jean8rum) January 16, 2017
Protect the Philippines' last environmental frontier!— GreenpeacePH (@gpph) January 15, 2017
Sign & share this petition >> https://t.co/ZDQrkduv54#CoronIsNotBikiniBottom pic.twitter.com/SYIpSxQD3A
With the opposition of Gina Lopez, Environment Secretary from the Department of Environment and Natural Resources, and an on-going online petition that garnered over 200,000 signatures in two days, the Philippines shows unwavering determination to protect ‘the last ecological frontier.’
Despite the plans showing no signs of stopping, the project has yet to be approved by The Palawan Council for Sustainable Development, a government body.
Be up to date with these resources down below!
GreenPeace Philippines: https://twitter.com/gpph
Follow the story with the hashtag #CoronIsNotBikiniBottom