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Public Hearing held on Environmental Impact of XU Campus of the Future

The Environmental Management Bureau (EMB) of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Region 10 held a public hearing on the environmental impact of Xavier University-Ateneo de Cagayan (Xavier Ateneo) Campus of the Future on Monday, 17 October 2022, at the XU Andrew L Gotianun Sr Center for Integrated Technologies, Manresa campus.

Atty. Abbas Lao of the EMB presided over the public hearing. A review committee was also present to take note of the concerns raised during the discussion.

Xavier Ateneo with Cebu Landmasters, Inc (CLI) as the developer, presented the EIS (Environmental Impact Statement) regarding the possible impacts of land development related to the Campus of the Future.

The EIS presentation is part of the requirements for Xavier University’s application for the ECC (Environmental Compliance Certificate) of the proposed Masterson campus. The EIS includes studies about geo-hazards, drainage, traffic impact, flora and fauna diversity, and air and water quality assessments. The consultants shared findings from their baseline studies and recommendations based on those findings.

The ECC refers to the document issued by the DENR-EMB that allows a proposed project to proceed to the next stage of project planning, which is the acquisition of approvals from other government agencies and LGUs, after which the project can start implementation.

Expanding Xavier Ateneo’s post-pandemic learning spaces and opportunities, the new 21-hectare Masterson Campus, named in honor of the late Fr William Masterson SJ, is envisioned to catalyze development in Northern Mindanao with a sustainable and New Normal-ready campus masterplan.

The Campus of the Future is characterized by an abundance of space, green areas, wide roads, dedicated bike lanes, campus-wide wireless connectivity, and healthy and adaptable learning facilities for virtual and physical classes.

The project aims to reinvent Xavier Ateneo as a more socially relevant and inclusive learning institution focused on strengthening its colleges and schools, such as Agriculture, Arts & Sciences, Business & Management, Computer Studies, Education, Engineering, Nursing, and Medicine.

The Masterson Campus will blend seamlessly with the adjacent Manresa Town to be developed by CLI, a 14.3-hectare mixed-use university town with generous open spaces providing XU students convenient and safe residential options, easy access to commercial establishments and future-ready offices.

The 21-hectare Campus of the Future will be supplemented by over 25 hectares of surrounding forested areas (protected forests and animal sanctuaries).

According to Xavier Ateneo President Fr Mars P Tan SJ, “We envision an academically stronger university in this new campus – one that will facilitate learning in the New Normal and at the same time, produce men and women for others that can make relevant contributions to Mindanao.”

The public hearing was attended by representatives from the affected barangays, XU administrators, faculty, staff, students, alumni, and other concerned stakeholders.

Officials and residents of Brgy Lower Balulang raised concerns regarding possible flooding and traffic which were discussed by the body.

However, the technical consultants assured that the project will have mitigating measures in place, such as detention tanks to hold back and prevent rainwater from flooding the barangays, and planned routes and spine roads to disperse traffic.

Some alumni declared their desire to honor the legacy of Fr Masterson and SEARSOLIN (an institute that closed down in 2014) by retaining the Manresa Campus as it is.

However, college students, represented by their council leaders, declared their support for the new campus seeing how it would improve the quality of education for future generations of students not only in the city, but throughout the country as well.

Engr. Lennie Ong, who represented Xavier Ateneo during the hearing, assured that XU and CLI are dedicated to making this project beneficial to the entirety of Cagayan de Oro City.

Ong enjoined all present to work together to fulfill Fr. Masterson’s Impossible Dream not only for Xavier University, but for the region and Mindanao as well. She expressed her hope that with the new campus, XU hopes to fulfill that dream for future generations.(RMB)



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