Olongapo SubicBay BatangGapo Newscenter

Monday, March 02, 2009

Architects, planners contradict Palafox claim in Subic

SUBIC Bay Freeport -- Development and conservation of nature can co-exist.

With this in mind, various professional associations, including the biggest group of architects in the country, have called on concerned government agencies to conduct an objective appraisal of the proposed hotel-casino project in the freeport.

In a manifesto, the Council for Built and Natural Environments, composed of nine professional organizations, said “a second look” at the project is needed to come up with “a more objective and intelligent appreciation of the situation.”

The group released the manifesto after conducting a fact-finding mission on the proposed site for the Ocean 9 hotel-casino project last Feb. 5 where they found that no tree has been cut or felled, contrary to allegations made by urban planner Felino Palafox, Jr.

The CBNE is composed of United Architects of the Philippines, Philippine Institute of Environmental Planners, Philippine Association of Landscape Architects, Geological Society of the Philippines, Integrated Chemists of the Philippines, National Master Plumbers Association of the Philippines, Philippine Association of Agriculturists, Philippine Institute of Interior Designers, and Society of Filipino Foresters.

The Ocean 9 hotel-casino project proposed by Korean firm Grand Utopia has been sidelined since groundbreaking in November last year after Palafox alleged that it would result in the destruction of some 300 trees, including supposedly century-old trees at the proposed project site.

The allegations by Palafox, who was previously hired to design the project, stirred a controversy, although the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority had categorically stated no trees had been cut and it would not allow any tree-cutting.

The group’s fact-finding mission validated that the project site is within Subic’s commercial district, that there is no natural forest in the proposed project site, and that no tree has been cut or felled. Journal.com.ph

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