Friday, February 27, 2009

Ocean 9 hotel-casino project in Subic

After being rocked with controversy, the Subic hotel casino project "Ocean 9" will still push through but in another location. The Council for the Built and Natural Environment (CBNE) has come up with findings that contradict allegations against the project proponents.

The CBNE is composed of the 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 the Society of Filipino Foresters.

The CBNE issued a manifesto urging “a second look” at the Ocean 9 controversy to “come up with a more objective and intelligent appreciation of the situation.” Their fact-finding mission validated that the proposed project site is in Subic’s commercial district, there is no natural forest in the proposed project site and that no tree has been cut or felled.

Based on its findings, the group concluded that vegetation in the project site can neither be considered virgin forest, or a natural old-growth forest, and that there are no century-old trees in the area.

On the other hand, Grand Utopia is already impatient because of the delay resulting from the controversy on allegations by noted Filipino architect Felino Palafox Jr. that the project would destroy about 300 trees at the proposed site.

Despite the raging controversy, the Korean proponent has not given up on its $120-million project and is now scouting for another location and has asked Subic authorities for help in finding another site for its hotel-casino complex.

The new location being identified, though not yet final, is a block of waterfront property where the decade-old steel skeleton of an aborted hotel project still stands.

Source: Business Mirror

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