The Philippine Reclamation Authority said that it has given the greenlight to four reclamtation projects in Manila Bay, despite objections from environmentalists who claimed that these projects would cause flooding.
PRA general manager Joselito Gonzales identified projects as the Navotas City Coastal Bay Reclamation Project, the Pasay 360-hectare Reclamation Project, Pasay 265-hectare Reclamation Project and the Horizon Manila 418 Reclamation Project.
Gonzales said that although the projects have been given notices to proceed, they would still undergo value engineering approval.
“Pagka natapos 'yung value engineering, as soon as ma-approve ng PRA board then we issue a 2nd stage NDP document for the signal na pwede na silang mag-mobilize for their reclamation works,” he said. (Once value engineering is done and it is approved by the PRA board, then we issue a 2nd stage NDP document to signal they can start their reclamation works.)
Environmentalists had warned the government that dumping soil into the Manila Bay would displace thousands of residents, cause flooding, and harm its biodiversity.
But Gonzales dispelled claims that water would flow to Manila if reclamation projects proceed in the bay.
“Meron po tayong tinatawag na displacement theory. Unlike Laguna de Bay na medyo enclosed, pag nilagyan mo ng malaking bagay ang swimming pool, aapaw talaga,” he said. (We have what we call the displacement theory. Unlike Laguna de Bay which is somewhat enclosed, if you put something large in a swimming pool it will overflow.)
“In the case of Manila Bay, kahit 'yan po tambakan, ang tendency ng water flow because of displacement theory, ay umagos po palabas ng West Philippine Sea.” (In the case of Manila Bay, even if you dump things there, the water would flow to the West Philippine Sea because of the displacement theory.)
Gonzales also claimed that the reclamation has no correlation with land subsidence or the gradual settling or sudden sinking of the ground.
He cited a study by Kelvin Rodolfo and Fernando Siringan, which he said found that the main cause of land subsidence in Manila's side is overpumping or overextraction of groundwater.
“Hindi po namin macorrelate, because di rin naman po binanggit sa study nila. Habang wala pang reclamation, may subsidence na. Ano ’yung correlation ng reclamation para lumubog 'yung kabilang side ng dry land?” he said. (We cannot correlate the two because it was not mentioned in the study. Even if there wasn't reclamation yet, there was already subsidence. What is the correlation of reclamation to the sinking of the other side of the dry land?
“Pag nagko-construct ng matataas na building, gaano kalalim ang hukay na ginagawa para gawin ang basement parking, yun po ang bumabawas sa lupa. Yun po ang malaking contributor ng subsidence, hindi po reclamation.” (When you construct high-rises, how deep do you dig for basement parking? It decreases the ground, it's a large contributor in subsidence, not reclamation.)
Earlier, Manila Mayor Francisco “Isko” Moreno said he he would order a strict review of the multibillion-peso reclamation projects in Manila.