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PH court rules in favor of environment: declares housing project in mangrove forest in Palawan illegal

CA slams door on Rafael Cervantes’ plan to build subdivision in Palawan mangrove

The Court of Appeals (CA) upheld a lower court’s ruling in favor of the issuance of a permanent protection order (PPO) against the illegal occupation and destruction of five hectares of protected land within a mangrove reserve in Puerto Princesa City, Palawan.
In a decision dated February 21, the appellate court’s Special Seventh Division dismissed the appeal filed by businessman Rafael Cervantes and affirmed the Puerto Princesa Regional Trial Court’s (RTC) decision which required him to post a P10 million initial trust fund for the rehabilitation and restoration of the damaged areas at the Mangrove Swamp Forest Reserve, in Sitio Barimbing in Barangay San Manuel.

The court also directed the Community Environment and Natural Resources Office (Cenro) and the Palawan Council for Sustainable Development (PCSD) to submit a detailed report on the estimated damages and make periodic reports on the mangrove by Cervantes’ actions.

In issuing its decision, the CA said the trial court “did its duty as it had been empowered to do by our laws and rules concerning the environment.”

The Cenro, in its complaint, accused Cervantes of illegally occupying a portion of the mangrove area since 2010.

On Jan. 20, 2011, the office held a summary eviction of occupants for the removal of illegal structures and fences constructed in the mangrove area.

Cervantes promised to remove the structures but did not comply. He instead filed an injunction case against the local government of Puerto Princesa to enjoin the demolition. The case was dismissed as the trial court held that the property was part of the mangrove areas.

Under a number of laws including Presidential Proclamation 2152 signed in 1981, the entire province of Palawan is a mangrove swamp forest reserve and cutting of mangroves is prohibited.

The CA added that “the protection of the environment is a subject that cannot be simply relegated to the dustbin of transgressed laws and regulations”.

PH court rules in favor of environment: declares housing project in mangrove forest in Palawan illegal PH court rules in favor of environment: declares housing project in mangrove forest in Palawan illegal Reviewed by AsianPolicy.Press on 5:32:00 PM Rating: 5

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