ENVIRONMENT groups opposing the planned Nickelodeon-branded undersea theme park in Coron, Palawan, scored a victory with the withdrawal of Viacom International Media Networks (VIMN) from the project.
Last week, VIMN announced that it will discontinue its partnership with Coral World Park Undersea Resorts Inc. (CWP) for their plan to build a 400-hectare underwater theme park in Palawan. Included in the planned theme park in Coron are a floating restaurant, hotel and condominium.
The environment groups had rallied with Palawan residents, nature tourism advocates, indigenous peoples organizations and other concerned groups, through an effort via the petition website, Bataris.org.ph.
Anna Oposa, Bataris petitioner and Save Philippine Seas executive director, said the petition was able to garner more than a quarter of a million signatures.
“We commend VIMN [Viacom International Media Networks], the media company that owns Nickelodeon, for heeding to the call of over 260,000 online petitioners and local communities to disengage with Coral World Park,” she said.
She said VIMN’s decision to cut-off its ties with CWP shows that the real power lies in the hands of the people, especially the Tagbanua brothers and sisters, who fiercely opposed the project.
“As a child-friendly and family-oriented channel, Nickelodeon is best not to be associated with a potentially destructive structure that will negatively affect the lives, livelihood, and culture of the people of Coron,” Oposa said.
Meanwhile, lawyer Grizelda “Gerthie” Mayo-Anda, the executive director of the Environmental Legal Assistance Center Palawan, said the battle is not yet over.
“We cannot be complacent. We will continue to oppose the proposed project of Coral World Park, and for future investors not to risk their money and their name on questionable and destructive projects,” she said.
Anda said they will continue to call on the local government of Coron, the provincial government of Palawan, and the national government agencies, especially the Department of Environment and Natural Resources and the Department of Tourism, to reject such projects.
“Let this be a warning to big companies that environmentally destructive projects, such as the proposed undersea attraction, will never be welcome in Palawan, and in any other islands in the Philippines,” said Vince Cinches of Oceans and Political Campaigner of Greenpeace Southeast Asia–Philippines.
The project was opposed by former Environment Secretary Gina Lopez saying it would damage corals in the area.