Revilla defends Cavite airport, says ‘it’s long overdue’

DESPITE uproar from fisherman’s group and other non-government organization, Senator Ramon “Bong” Revilla Jr., defended the proposed redevelopment of Sangley Point in Cavite City into an international airport and seaport, since it has been long overdue.

In a statement issued on Monday, Revilla said that the twin ports is included in the “Cavite: Vision 2010 development master plan penned by Architect Jun Palafox of Palafox Associates which was complemented by Executive Order No. 629 was issued in 2007.

“Because of ‘Vision 2020’, Executive Order No. 629, Series of 2007 was issued, directing the Philippine Reclamation Authority to convert Sangley Point in Cavite City into an international Airport and Seaport,” Revilla pointed out.

Salvador France, Pamalakaya vice chairperson and convener of Koalisyon Kontra Kumbersiyon ng Manila Bay (KKK-Manila Bay) said 26,000 fishing families from Bacoor to Cavite City will be displaced from their main source of livelihood once Malacanang agrees with foreign investors and financiers of the Sangley Pt. Reclamation Project at the Cavite Peninsula.

“Twenty six thousand fishing families or roughly 156,000 people will be immediately dislodged from their livelihood and communities and what the government will offer for survival of a lifetime is P 15,000 for each of the displaced family. People of the Philippines, we have a looming massacre of people, livelihood and environment here rolled into one courtesy of this great Sangley Point robbery by foreign monopolies,” the Pamalakaya official said.

Another group of fishermen, allied with the left-leaning fisherfolk alliance Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (Pamalakaya), said in a statement: “The large-scale reclamation project in Sangley Point will send the fishing villages of Bacoor, Noveleta, Kawit, Rosario, and Cavite City to the death bed of environmental catastrophe and destruction. The reclamation plan will kill the livelihood of tens of thousands of fishermen and other people dependent on Cavite’s fishing for their day-to-day survival.”

But, Revilla argued that the redevelopment of Sangley Point will decongest Manila and provide great boost to tourism and the economy, and provide more jobs and revenues for the Province of Cavite.

“I hope and pray that it pushes through this time,” Revilla said.

He said the master plan was finalized late 2000 and was bared over 12 years ago in March of 2001.  “Since then, our plan and vision was abandoned by the Provincial Government of Cavite, and was just freshly being referred to when Governor Remulla was elected 3 years ago.”

“I have been making requests to this administration in light of E.O. 629 to support the conversion of Sangley Point to an International Airport and Container Port, but no actions on my representations have been made,” he added.

According to Revilla, the All-Asia Resources and Reclamation Corp. (ARRC) consortium, where Solar Group is the lead local partner, submitted a letter of intent last Jan. 10 to redevelop Sangley Point, a former United States Naval base in Cavite City, to undertake the project with their  foreign partners.

William Tieng of Solar Group expressed that firm commitment of their foreign partners to the undertaking, and identified them to include Flugfahen Munich, operator of the Munich airport in Germany; Hamburger Hafen und Logistik, the biggest operator in Germany’s Hamburg port; Ferrovie Circumvesuviana, an Italian rail company; power firm Isoluc Corsan; Deutsche Bank; COWI, Inros Lackner and GMP Architects; contractors Hochtief and Rizzani de Eccher; and a lead reclamation contractor in Royal Boskalis Westminster.

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