An infrastructure-oriented think tank is urging President Rodrigo Duterte to order a review of all unsolicited reclamation proposals along Manila Bay, consistent with his previous pronouncement banning reclamation activities unrelated to government projects.
“Malacañang should draw first blood and review unsolicited commercial proposals that are still at its initiatory stage, in which no binding agreements have yet been reached with either the local or national government,” said a statement of Terry Ridon, Infrawatch PH convenor and former House natural resources committee member.
Ridon said at least eight proposed Manila Bay reclamation projects should be reviewed by Malacañang in order to deliver on the President’s commitment to stop the decay of Manila Bay.
In a speech last month, President Duterte lamented the environmental impact of reclamation.
He said, “It will choke Manila. The entire Manila City would be environmentally at peril. So pag-aralan n’yo mabuti ‘yan (you study it very well) in the next administration whoever gets to be the President of this country.”
Ridon said that the following reclamation proposals should be reviewed by Malacañang:
a. Bacoor City Reclamation Project
b. Baseco Reclamation Project
c. BRADI Smart Harbor Manila
d. City of Pearl Reclamation Project
e. Harbor Center Reclamation Project
f. Horizon Manila Reclamation Project
g. Manila Waterfront City Reclamation Project
h. Parañaque City Reclamation Project
“There should be no serious consequences in reviewing, if not suspending these proposals, as no binding documents have yet been issued either by the local or national government. Suspending these projects would also show the resolve of the President to preserve Manila Bay. More important, these are mostly commercial reclamation proposals unrelated to any government project,” said Ridon.
Ridon said a comprehensive scientific study should also be undertaken to review the medium-and long-term social and environmental impact of already existing reclamation projects in Manila Bay.
“By this time, government should already be able to identify whether reclamation areas increased the likelihood of flooding as many environmentalists previously feared. It should also be able to determine whether the economic benefits of reclamation counterbalances the supposed negative environmental impact,” said Ridon.
During a speech at the inauguration of the renovated Sangley Airport, Duterte said, “Sabi ko, [I said] no. No, no reclamation. You wait until the next president… They may look at it kindly at a different lens.”
Ridon said the President was referring to all Manila Bay reclamation projects when he lamented the “mind-boggling” reclamation of 10,000 hectares of Manila Bay.