Environmental activists and netizens have hailed the cancellation of an undersea attraction and resort project that Nickelodeon plans to build on Palawan, an island province dubbed as “the last ecological frontier” in the Philippines.
In January, Viacom International Media Networks (VIMN Nickelodeon) unveiled its plan to build a 400-hectare park on Coron, Palawan.
Nickelodeon said Palawan, known to have some of the most beautiful beaches in the world, is an ideal location for its multi-million-dollar project.
The Philippine Department of Tourism welcomed the planned undersea-themed resort and attraction, saying the undersea project will attract more tourists to visit Palawan and the Philippines.
But local environment group “Save Philippine Seas” was alarmed by the project and immediately created a petition opposing the project due to potential damage to its rich biodiversity and natural wonders.
It said in its petition that “building artificial structures … will undeniably damage and disrupt Palawan’s marine ecosystems.”
The online petition against the project had garnered nearly 270,000 signatures.
“We thank all the supporters of petition and campaign for this milestone,” the group said in a statement posted on its Facebook account on Tuesday.
However, it stressed that “the battle is not over: we still need to remain vigilant and monitor updates about the proposed attraction.”
VIMN said in its recent statement that it has decided to “mutually agree” with project developer Coral World Park (CWP) “to discontinue the IP licensing agreement” for the project.
“Therefore, VIMN and Nickelodeon will no longer be involved with this proposed development,” it said.
The VIMN statement also came a few weeks after Vince Cinches, the oceans campaigner of Greenpeace Philippines, urged VIMN to end its partnership with CWP which the groups found to have “no historical background of any conservation effort anywhere else in the Philippines.”
“Drop this outrageous project as early as possible, or else face a possible repetitional backlash,” warned Cinches.
The project has drawn flak from environmental and civil society organizations.
Petitioner Anna Oposa, “Save Philippine Seas” executive director, said: “Why do Coron and the Philippines need artificial attractions? Coron is already so beautiful in its natural state.”