Mayor to allow seawall project if requirements met

By Rjay Zuriaga Castor

Iloilo City Mayor Jerry Treñas said he will allow the Department of Public Works and Highways Western Visayas (DPWH-6) to resume the construction of the P400-million seawall project along a portion of the city’s coastline.

“After thorough checking of the documents and the risk reduction impact that the project will bring to our people in the coastal area, I am inclined to allow DPWH to finish their work,” Treñas said in a statement on Friday, June 28.

However, he emphasized that DPWH must still secure necessary clearances from the Philippine Reclamation Authority (PRA), Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR), and other relevant agencies.

“I will wait for the hearing of the city council and the result thereof,” he added.

Treñas said the seawall will ensure the safety and protection of residents in the coastal area since the project reduces their exposure to hazards caused by natural phenomena.

The 635-meter seawall spans the shorelines of barangays Rizal Pala to Tanza in the City Proper district.

Treñas’s statement came after the city council conducted a hearing on Thursday, June 27, regarding the DPWH’s request to utilize the materials that had been delivered to the construction site.

Councilor Johnny Young, chairperson of the committee on engineering, construction, and public works, said the mayor will ultimately determine whether DPWH-6 can proceed with construction.

He also emphasized that DPWH-6 still has to comply with necessary requirements from PRA and BFAR.

Currently, DPWH-6 is awaiting a response from the PRA regarding their letter confirming that the seawall is not a reclamation project.

In late May, the city council passed a resolution halting the project, which was already 37.92 percent completed.

This resulted in the issuance of a cease and desist order from the City Legal Office, citing the project’s lack of permits from the PRA and the Office of the Building Official.

The order also pointed out that DPWH-6 violated provisions of the Local Government Code by not conducting public consultations with affected barangays before commencing construction.

DPWH-6 director Sanny Boy Oropel has since clarified that the seawall is not a reclamation project and does not require PRA approval.

“The structure of the seawall is a standalone structure, so it cannot be considered a reclamation [project]. We are not backfilling behind it, so we wouldn’t need clearance from the [PRA],” Oropel said.

The project also received a Certificate of Non-Coverage from the DENR, a document that exempts a project from obtaining an Environmental Clearance Certificate.


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