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DENR to thumb down underwater resort

The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) said it will not allow the establishment of the 400-hectare underwater resort and theme park being proposed by an American children’s television network in Palawan.
DENR Secretary Gina Lopez told reporters her stand about not allowing the construction of Nickelodeon’s resort even as its proponents promised to protect the ocean and conserve its coral reefs.

Ron Johnson, executive vice president of Viacom International Media Networks and Nickelodeon’s parent company said their choice of Coron is aimed to give fans a chance to “interact with the brand and the iconic characters they love” apart from it being known as having the best beaches in the world.

Lopez however said the welfare of the Filipinos, specifically those who might be adversely affected by the project is her sole concern.

“If it entails the destruction of corals, right away I’ll say ‘no way.’ Fishes need corals. The corals are home of the fishes. And some of the corals have shells and sponges that could cure cancer,” said Lopez. “I would never allow our biodiversity to be killed for the money some people want to make. The Filipino people are much more important, and will always be more important than any business.

To date, the DENR has yet to receive an application from Viacom. (Vanne Elaine P. Terrazola)