Senator Cynthia Villar has warned the reclamation project being pushed by the Parañaque local government will cause more floodings in Cavite, Paranaque, and Las Pinas and claims this will be detrimental to the viability of the Las Pinas-Paranaque Wetland Park.
Villar, chairperson of the Committee on Environment and Natural Resources, issued the statement in response to the public hearings set October 1 and 2 for the creation of a 287-hectare artificial island along the coast of Manila Bay in Paranaque.
“The Paranaque Reclamation Project will be built on the buffer zone of the Las Pinas- Paranaque Wetland Park. This should not be allowed to proceed because it will hamper the free flow of water which is critical to the survival of the wetland ecosystem,” Villar said.
Villar also cautioned against the destruction of the 35-hectares mangrove forest, a spawning ground of fishes in Manila Bay which supports the livelihood of 300,000 fisherfolks.
Villar also debunked the stand of Paranaque Mayor Edwin Olivarez, project proponent that the flooding would be prevented by the Imus catchment basin.
She said the infrastructure was constructed for the existing problem in Cavite brought about by the Cavite expressway. She said the Paranaque reclamation project was not considered when this was planned.
“According to former DPWH Secretary (Rogelio) Singson, the Cavitex Expressway is supposed to be a viaduct based on the plan. But instead, they reclaimed Manila Bay and constructed the expressway on top of the reclaimed road which causes so much flooding in Imus, Bacoor and other places in Cavite. To address this, DPWH built the Imus catchment basin. This project is not intended to solve flooding in Paranaque and Las Pinas,” Villar explained.
Villar also appealed to the Department of Environment and Natural Resources to consider the buffer zone of the wetland park before approving any reclamation in the area.
She also objected to the 320-hectare Bacoor reclamation project which is to be built on the wetland’s buffer zone
Under Republic Act 11038 or the Expanded National Integrated Protected Areas System Act, the 175-hectare wetland situated South of Manila Bay is a protected area.
It is also listed as one of the seven areas in the country declared a wetland of international importance by the Ramsar Convention because of its critical role in the survival of threatened, restricted-range and congregatory bird species.