Groups press Manila Bay wide ban on reclamation

GROUPS opposed to the Manila Bay reclamation on Saturday reiterated their demand to President Benigno Simeon Aquino III to sign an executive order banning all reclamation activities in Manila Bay from Cavite City to Bataan .

The said EO which they wished Aquino would sign will effectively stop the P 14-billion Freedom Island reclamation project in Las Pinas and Paranaque, which include the 175-hectare mangrove forest and bird sanctuary, the 148-hectare reclamation project near the Manila Yacht Club in Manila previously revived by Manila Mayor Alfredo Lim and the 5,000 hectare reclamation plan under the North Bay Boulevard Project in Navotas City.

In a joint statement, Pamalakaya chairperson and Anakpawis vice-chair Fernando Hicap and KKK-Manila Bay convener Salvador France said the proposed EO should overturn the National Reclamation Plan of the Philippine Reclamation Authority (PRA) the put on the reclamation map some 26,000 hectares of foreshore lands along the bay.

The groups claimed that the reclamation projects in Cavite, Las Pinas, Paranaque, Manila and Navotas, aside from their negative impact to fisherfolk livelihood and marine environment, will further lead to the sinking of the National Capital Region and would contribute more to massive flooding due and storm surges due to reclamation’s obstructive and destructive nature because they are designed to host profit driven ventures.

As this developed, Anakpawis party list Rep. Rafael Mariano, acting on the complaints of fishermen and urban poor residents along the bay had filed a house resolution seeking an inquiry into the planned reclamation projects in many parts of Manila Bay and find out the impact of these projects to fisherfolk livelihood and community rights.

Mariano said reclamation projects under the Public-Private Partnership (PPP) program of the Aquino administration could result in the displacement of thousands of people living the affected areas. “These projects will only benefit the few and will be a disadvantage to the already disadvantaged small fisherfolks,” Mariano said.

Mariano said some 3,500 small fisherfolks and their families in the Pasay Reclamation Area and another 3,000 coastal and urban poor families along the coastal shores of Paranaque City were evicted by the Ramos administration to give way to reclamation projects.

Mariano said the fishermen living along Manila Bay observed a sharp decline in their daily fish catch from a high of 15 to 20 kilos a day down to 3 to 5 kilos a day.

The reclamation plan was presented to the Cabinet Economic Cluster Committee, in June 2011 which reportedly noted the huge potential investment that reclamation projects could generate, according to Mariano.

Mariano said these projects are similar to the Hong Kong, Japan and Singapore experiences, and other countries implementing reclamation projects and covering not only by the hundreds but thousands of hectares as an avenue towards achieving economic growth and development.

“Even the Pasay City Government has submitted a proposal to the PRA for a 50-hectare reclamation project within its jurisdiction along the NRP Manila Bay sector and according to the same letter, the PRA is already processing the application,” Mariano said.


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