Nickelodeon, American children's television behind SpongeBob Square Pants and Dora The Explorer had announced that the park on Palawan island would be a part of a 400-hectare (1,000-acre) undersea development showcasing the area's marine life that would give fans a chance to "interact with the brand and iconic characters they love." It will build an underwater resort and theme park on Palawan, known as the Philippines' last ecological frontier, alarming environmentalists.
Ron Johnson, an executive vice president with Viacom International Media Networks, which owns Nickelodeon said on Tuesday, January 10 that Palawan was chosen for the development because it "is known to have some of the most beautiful beaches in the world today.
The resort would open in 2020 and feature restaurants and lounges six meters (20 feet) below sea level.
But environmental group Greenpeace said that building an underwater theme park woul destroy the area's worl-famous marine ecosystem.
Vince Cinches of Grrenpeace Southeast Asia told AFP: "It's sad and alarming because a theme park that big will not promote environmental protection by building those structures."
Grizelda Mayo-Anda, Palawan-based environmental activist and executive director of the Environmental Legal Assistance Center also expressed concern.
According to her: "I am wary because we have had problems already with resorts built in mangrove areas. I'm really concerned because sometimes, with all due respect to the local government unit, we get captivated by new projects and we do not judiciously study the impact."
Viacom's Philippine partner, Coral World Park, insisted the resort would not hurt the environment.
Coral World Park chairman Paul Monozca told AFP: "We are taking very, very careful measures to ensure that the biodiversity is kept intact."
The Palawan Council for Sustainable Development, a government body, said the project had yet to be approved.