Why Gina Lopez won’t allow proposed Nickelodeon theme park in Palawan?

MANILA, Philippines - After American children’s TV network Nickelodeon announced its plan to construct an undersea resort and theme park in Coron, Palawan, Environment Secretary Gina Lopez revealed she would not allow such development in the area on Wednesday, January 11.

Gina Lopez won’t allow proposed Nickelodeon theme park in Palawan

According to the environmental advocate, she is against the construction of such theme park if it will harm the environment.

"I will never allow the corals to be harmed, that's what we have, that's our wealth. You can’t kill the corals for a theme park, no way,” Lopez said.

"We will not allow anything that will damage the environment. No amount of money is worth the well being of our farmers and fishermen," she added.

Viacom International Media Networks, which owns Nickelodeon, said Palawan would be part of a 400-hectare underwater development highlighting the area’s marine life. The firm behind Spongebob and Dora the Explorer said the development would give Nickelodeon’s fans an opportunity to “interact with the brand and the iconic characters they love.”

Viacom executive Vice President Ron Johnson said in a statement to AFP on Tuesday that Palawan was selected for the development because it "is known to have some of the most beautiful beaches in the world today.

The resort is supposed to open in 2020 and would feature restaurants and lounges six meters below sea level.

Immediately after the news broke out, several environment advocates launched an online petition urging the TV network as well as local officials to reject proposals of the underwater theme park. The hashtag #CoronIsNotBikiniBottom trended on various social media networks. Bikini Bottom is the underwater home of Spongebob, one the most well-loved characters of Nickelodeon.

Dubbed by conservation groups as “the last frontier,” Palawan is best known for its pristine coastlines and forests. It is home to two UNESCO World Heritage-listed sites - the subterranean river and the Tubbataha coral reefs.

--Mini, The Summit Express

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