Thursday, January 12, 2017

Why Say Yes to the Theme Park in Palawan

Is a question I ask myself to justify why we strongly disagree to Nickolodeon's application for an underwater theme park in Coron, Palawan. It is easy to say no to the idea because we are afraid that it would destroy our last ecological frontier.


I have been to Palawan three times - Puerto Princesa, El Nido and Coron - it was AMAZING! A perfect place to build a theme park, according to Viacom. And it is undeniably true in a business point of view. If you think about it, Palawan is not only abundant with crystal clear beaches and diverse marine wildlife, it is also home to thousands of tourists every year - both local and international. Which in return has provided a lot of jobs for the people. Imagine building an international underwater theme park, that would surely bring more jobs!

Assuming this proposal is approved and they do build the theme park, they would probably buy an islet (which most rich people have already bought one for themselves - I don't see why a huge company couldn't, right?) and let people get into ferry boats just to get there from the town. This would provide, more, jobs for boatmen and pier officials.

In case you haven't been to El Nido or Coron - most of the famous white beaches and emerald waters are a few minutes of boat ride from the town proper. The town itself is just like a typical Philippine small town but with more tour agencies, restaurants, resorts, hotels and inns sitting right next to each other. So it is possible the Viacom will buy or rent (if renting is possible) one of the many islets of Palawan. 

The theme park itself would require hundreds of employees. The park will then attract much more tourists than it is already having in a year(think of it like the Jurrasic Park - without the dinosaurs). They would probably have to expand the current tiny airport they have in Coron just so they can accommodate the people - more airport employees. And not to mention more frequent flights to Coron - making airfare much cheaper! So don't you think it's a win-win for everyone?



I guess it is, but for the environment - it's not. Even without the theme park, the number of tourists Palawan accommodates brings problems to the city; congestion, pollution and threats to the marine life. The tiny towns of El Nido and Coron is already overflowing with tourists during vacation seasons. And with that number of people, we can only imagine the resources needed to sustain everyone and the trash it produces, and I just really hope it does not end up in the oceans! It is a sad fact that most people do not care where their trashes end up. I know that Palawan is trying to maintain and clean up after every tour, but soon it will just be too much. What is the difference of the unstoppable popping of resorts and establishments in Palawan to the proposed theme park (whether it is underwater or not), it both contributes to the long term effects to the place.

Yes, more jobs can help put more food in the table but what would be the point of building a theme park in a location where it is known for it's wonderful beaches if soon there will be no more emerald beaches to see?



Palawan is already a natural theme park and by building one is like cutting down a tree so you can build a waiting shed for people to pay to use it - it is purely business. It does not really matter what kind of theme park they will established. If it is going to be an underwater theme park that would potentially harm the corals - I am sure DENR will deny it. And if it's just a normal in-land theme park that aims to help awareness to ocean conservation, it still brings threat to the environment in a long term perspective.

Though I am not saying no to this project. With proper implementation of rules and guidelines to surely conserve the beauty of Coron and honest intentions (minus the corrupt minds to only gain profit) to really protect the oceans - I don't see why it is not a good idea since it will provide thousands of jobs for the people. It will really go down to how they plan it to be and how strictly the government will consider their application that would benefit everyone including the environment.




So I say, go and submit your business proposal and just make sure it's Palawan friendly 
(not only for the first few years), because if it isn't, there are almost 200,000 angry netizens (who signed the Bataris petition against the theme park - including ME) who are ready to keyboard kill you - and not to mention the environmentalists that will forever annoy you till that park will be closed. Not good for business.


PS: Why dont they just invest in helping to conserve the natural resources of Palawan instead of building a theme park - if it was really their intention to help raise ocean conservation awareness?