Earlier this year, the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) kicked off a P30-billion superhighway project in Palawan. This 600-kilometer project will widen the province’s national highway from two lanes to six lanes, starting from El Nido in the North all the way to Bataraza in the South.
According to Palawan governor Jose Alvarez, it will boost tourism and the local economy.
But environmentalists, in particular, the Environmental Legal Assistance Center (ELAC), have questioned the project and described it as an “environmental disaster” in the making.
They report that the superhighway will hit century-old Acacia trees that form a scenic canopy along the highway, as well as thousands of other roadside trees across the province, causing many wildlife creatures to lose their habitats and possibly decimate the endemic wildlife populations.
Named as “World’s Best Island” for the second year in a row by Travel + Leisure magazine, Palawan is considered an ecological frontier. It is home to the Palawan stink badger, Palawan porcupine, Palawan Pangolin, and Philippine Cockatoo.
They also point out that chopping down trees can exacerbate the effects of climate change in the province.
Due to the outcry, the DPWH is now eyeing an alternate route for the superhighway.
However, environmentalists are continuing to call on everyone to be vigilant. They have launched an online appeal for a development plan that considers environmental impact, one that will not be at the expense of Palawan’s natural, pristine beauty, and biodiversity,
You can view the online appeal here.
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Photo source: @travelinpalawan on Facebook