Corporate News

Lopez opposes Nickelodeon’s underwater resort in Palawan

Posted on January 12, 2017

ENVIRONMENT Secretary Regina Paz L. Lopez has thumbed down the plan of US children’s television network Nickelodeon and Coral World Park Undersea Resorts, Inc. to construct an underwater resort and theme park in Coron, Palawan.

A view of Coron island in Palawan -- HTTP://WWW.PALAWANISLAND.ORG
“If it entails destruction of corals right away, I’ll say, no way! Fishermen need corals. Corals are home for fish,” Ms. Lopez told reporters on Tuesday.

Ms. Lopez was reacting to the announcement of Viacom International Media Networks on Monday that a new Nickelodeon resort and attraction is being developed within Coral World Park, a 400-hectare undersea-themed development being planned in Coron.

Viacom, which owns Nickelodeon, said its first resort in Southeast Asia is expected to open by 2020.

“I will never allow our biodiversity to be killed for money some people want to make. Filipinos are much more important than business,” Ms. Lopez said.

Aside from the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), the project has also earned the ire of environmentalists and conservation groups who say its impact on Palawan’s biodiversity contrary to its advocacy of marine protection.

Viacom had said the 100-hectare Nickelodeon undersea attraction and resort will be inspired by cartoon characters Spongebob Squarepants and Dora the Explorer, and feature restaurants and lounges located about six meters below sea level.

In its statement, Viacom said Coral World Park will be the largest coral reef conservation program in Asia, with the region’s biggest marine sanctuary for five key species -- dolphins, sea cows, sea horses, turtles and whale sharks.

Palawan has been declared as “Man and Biosphere Reserve” by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) in 1990 and has been pegged as the country’s “last ecological frontier.”

Moreover, Palawan is home to several protected areas, including the famous marine and bird sanctuary Tubbataha Reefs National Marine Park, which are covered under the government’s protection, management and development pursuant to Republic Act 7586 or the National Integrated Protected Areas System Act of 1992 for the management, protection, sustainable development, and rehabilitation of protected areas.

The Coral World Park project, however, will still have to secure the approval of the Palawan Council for Sustainable Development, the administrative body that serves to guide the local government of Palawan in its projects for the province. -- Janina C. Lim