Environmental advocates, fisherfolks, local organizations, and other concerned citizens sparked a silent protest against the proposed 174-hectare “Smart City” reclamation project last Friday, October 15, 2021, along North Dumaguete Coastal Road fronting Henry Hotel, North Point, and 2Go Office.
"Dumaguete’s “No Fridays” For The Future"
The goal of the silent protest is to allow the participants to demonstrate their disapproval and dissent with no words exchanged. The protesters are rather wearing their “No To 174” T-shirts holding anti-reclamation banners as they light candles beside the streets. Some concerned citizens even showed their support from inside their cars and tricycle cabs, bearing the poster of “No To 174 Reclamation Project”.
According to the post of the official Facebook page of NoTo174DumagueteIslands, the “No Fridays” movement is a sustainable silent protest every Friday to call for transparency and accountability of Dumaguete’s public officials regarding the proposed project which according to Atty. Golda Benjamin, an oppositionist, in an interview with CNN’s Rico Hizon, Mayor Felipe Remollo never consulted the public about the proposed reclamation project even if he was presented with facts that it will harm the marine protected areas where thousands of marginalized groups of individuals in Dumaguete City and neighboring towns rely on for their livelihoods.
Last September 10, 2021, Mayor Remolo withdrew his request for authority to sign the Memorandum Of Understanding (MOU) between the City Government of Dumaguete and EM Cuerpo, Inc. However, Atty. Golda Benjamin on her Facebook post last September 10, 2021, said that the withdrawal of Mayor Remollo was a political move to put out the fire or to calm things down especially that the election period is approaching. She also added that the withdrawal is still a victory for the people.
The “No Fridays” silent protest aims to call for the Dumaguete’s Mayor and public officials to totally scrap the idea of the proposed 174-hectare “Smart City” reclamation project and to focus more on sustainable projects instead.