Statement of the Commission on Human Rights expressing concern over the displacement fears of a fishing town amidst ‘Mega-City’ development in Ormoc City

Statement of the Commission on Human Rights expressing concern over the displacement fears of a fishing town amidst ‘Mega-City’ development in Ormoc City

The Commission on Human Rights (CHR) expresses concern over the sentiments expressed by residents of a fishing town in Ormoc City and their fear of displacement as the new ‘Mega-City’ in the city rises.

Based on reports, approximately 500 residents of Barangay Naungan in Ormoc City are concerned that they will be forced to abandon their homes and livelihoods due to Premium Lands Corporation’s P80 million eco-park and township development project. Furthermore, environmentalists and other concerned organizations have warned about the project’s potential impact on the environment and food security.

Goal 11 of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) focuses on making cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient, and sustainable, with green and culturally inspiring living conditions. This is also incorporated into the Philippine Development Plan (PDP) and Ambisyon Natin 2040.

The Commission acknowledges the affected residents’ fear and concerns that this project could negatively impact their household and livelihood, threatening their right to adequate housing and standard of living. Furthermore, we note the potential risks that this project may pose to marine biodiversity and the vital mangrove ecosystem, which not only supports local fishing activities but also serves as a critical natural barrier against strong waves and floods, particularly during typhoons.

While we recognise the potential benefits of this project to economic development, job creation, and the city’s overall progress, these must not come at the expense of human rights and environmental sustainability.

In line with this, we urge the Premium Land Corporation and the local government of Ormoc City to engage in a genuine and transparent dialogue with the affected communities, environmental experts, and other relevant community organizations. It is imperative to ensure that any development aligns with SDG and respects the rights and livelihoods of local residents.

The Commission remains committed to protecting the rights of all, particularly the marginalized and disadvantaged. We advocate for a balanced approach that reconciles economic progress with the preservation of natural resources and the well-being of communities that rely on them. After all, genuine development should be inclusive and not leave anyone behind. ###