(The Philippine Star) Updated May 31, 2010 12:00 AM
MANILA, Philippines - The proponent of the P2.5-billion expansion of Caticlan airport in Aklan should apply for a new environment clearance certificate (ECC) and acquire local permits before they can level the hill around the airport, Aklan Gov. Carlito Marquez said.
Members of the Earthsavers Movement have expressed strong opposition to the leveling of the hill because of the destruction of Boracay’s “micro-climate”, the extinction of nearby Lupo-lupo lake from being filled up with soil and aggregates from the hill, destruction of coral reefs and forests, and eventual flooding. They urged apparent president Noynoy Aquino to review the airport expansion.
According to Maquez, the provincial government had issued necessary local permits for the project when the Department of Environment Natural Resources approved the ECC in 2006.
However, Marquez clarified that the ECC did not state that the hill will be leveled by the proponent, who will extend the existing runway from 950 meters to 2,100 meters, improvement of the road network and upgrading of airport facilities and air traffic control aids.
The governor pointed out that the previously issued ECC, was for the provincial government’s simple upgrade of the airport complex and not the present development plan as envisioned the Caticlan International Airport Development Corp. (CIADC).
He told newsmen that the CIADC did not have proper consultation with the provincial officials, which is one of the three major components of the issued ECC along with a multi-partite monitor team and social responsibilities with stakeholders.
Concerned residents said the plan of the developer to level the nearby hill along the runway poses danger to the environment in mainland Panay.
Marquez said he will ask the members of the Sangguniang Panlalawigan and the provincial engineering office to look into the status of the project after learning that the proponent has not started the project after two ground breaking ceremonies wherein President Arroyo herself was guest speaker.