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Sunday, July 14, 2024

Project delays in Manila Bay ‘not good’ for PH investors

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Delaying a decision on reclamation projects in Manila Bay “will not do the country good,” Palawan Representative Jose Alvarez said.

According to Alvarez, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) will soon decide on these reclamation projects.

Earlier, President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. ordered the suspension of the reclamation projects due to environmental concerns.

Alvarez, the sponsor of the DENR’s proposed P23-billion budget for 2024, said it will not benefit the country—in terms of investments–if the DENR holds out on its decision on the matter.

“The result of the impact assessment is forthcoming because the investors are also waiting for it,” Alvarez, adding that “There are 18 companies with approved environmental compliance certificates (ECCs), and two of them started the project until they were temporarily suspended.”

“It is not healthy for our investment environment that a project that has been approved has been temporarily halted with no definite date of resumption. We believe the DENR will be coming up with a decision shortly, without sacrificing the stakeholders in Manila Bay,” Alvarez, quoted by reports, further said.

Alvarez said the planned reclamation projects only cover 3% of the entire Manila Bay, but the DENR is committed to ensuring that such projects would not be detrimental to the public.

“The DENR, being part of the Executive, will do what is mandated of them: conduct a cumulative impact assessment of Manila Bay reclamation projects. They have gathered experts and scientists to help them assess the reclamation project, whether it will cause floods, any irreversible environmental impact, how the garbage will be handled,” he said.

DENR Secretary Maria Antonia Yulo-Loyzaga earlier said that the 22 suspended Manila Bay reclamation projects run contrary to the government’s Manila Bay rehabilitation program.

Quoted by reports, Loyzaga said: “In our view, there is a contradiction between the reclamation projects and the rehabilitation of the bay.”

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