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Sunday, July 14, 2024

Court tells agencies to report on, assess Manila Bay reclamations

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The Supreme Court has required concerned government agencies to submit a report on the ongoing land reclamation projects in Manila Bay, including their assessment of the impact of these activities on the environment.

The SC issued the order through an en banc resolution as part of its continuing mandamus issued in 2008 ordering the Department of Environment and Natural Resources and other government agencies to clean up, rehabilitate, and preserve Manila Bay.

The Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System on Friday said it will follow the order of the High Court.

“We have to look at the SC order, and we will definitely comply with the order of the Supreme Court,” MWSS spokesperson Patrick Dizon told GMA News Online.

“MWSS is regularly submitting reports to SC [every quarter] of our projects and their accomplishments,” Dizon added.

Earlier, President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. ordered the suspension of all reclamation projects in Manila Bay pending a review of their economic, environmental, and social impacts.

The SC also set for oral arguments on the issue concerning the suspended reclamation projects in Manila Bay but did not announce yet the date for the proceedings.

Nonetheless, it required the parties to “move in the premises” or to inform the Court by September 30, 2023, of their measurement benchmarks of the pollution in Manila Bay; current government strategies being implemented to comply with their mandate to clean up, rehabilitate, and preserve Manila Bay, and to make it fit for swimming, skin-diving, and other forms of contact recreation; realistic targets for the next five years; and ongoing reclamations and their respective impact on the environment.

The concerned government agencies are the Metro Manila Development Authority, DENR, Department of Education, Department of Health, Department of Agriculture, Department of Public Works and Highways, Department of Budget and Management, Philippine Coast Guard, Philippine National Police Maritime Group, Department of Interior and Local Government, Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources, and Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System.

In 2009, the SC created the Manila Bay Advisory Committee to monitor the compliance of concerned government agencies to the Court’s 2008 decision with continuing mandamus.

Under the continuing mandamus, the concerned government agencies are mandated to submit to the Court a quarterly progressive report of the activities undertaken to clean up and rehabilitate the waters of Manila Bay.

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