Bacoor City—The assurance of Mayor Lani M. Revilla of an in-city relocation component of the proposed 420-hectare reclamation projects along the city’s coast, particularly for directly-impacted stakeholders, is among the major factors that helped secure widespread support for the planned development.
The proposed reclamation projects had clinched the overwhelming support of the city’s residents during the public hearing held by the Environmental Management Bureau of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources Jan. 9.
Last Jan. 5, the Liga ng mga Barangay of Bacoor passed resolution No. 01-series of 2020, expressing support for the proposed reclamation projects in the city.
The resolution, signed by LnB President Reynaldo Palabrica, cited among others that the project “has a concrete plan for all informal settler families [that] may be affected, like decent housing as relocation site within the city and being priority for employment in all job opportunities which will be created by the project.”
The Sangguniang Kabataan Federation of the city earlier signified their full support for the projects through a letter, dated Nov. 11, 2019, signed by SK Federation President Mac Raven Espiritu, and addressed to DENR Secretary Roy Cimatu.
The youth leaders declared that the projects would not only boost the city’s economy without compromising the environment but also “provide our fellow Bacooreños who have been legally or illegally settling at the 20 meters easement from the shores of the Manila Bay, within the jurisdiction of the City a better living situation through its relocation program.”
The City Government of Bacoor is the proponent of the reclamation projects, namely Bacoor Reclamation and Development Project, consisting of a total of 320-hectare islands, and the Diamond Reclamation and Development Project consisting of one 100-hectare island via Public-Private Partnership under the PPP Code of Bacoor.
Better life awaits
Revilla said a better life awaits the ISFs and fishermen who would be directly-impacted by the reclamation projects.
“Ang ating Pamahalaang Lungsod, at ako bilang Mayor ay magbibigay ng firm commitment na magkakaloob ng better housing para po sa kanila,” she stressed. This commitment was also in compliance with President Duterte’s directive of “no demolition without relocation.”
She said one of the resettlement sites being readied is a property in Molino II that would be called “Ciudad Kaunlaran,” where medium-rise buildings will be constructed with basic facilities and livelihood support programs.
A government center with social services will also be established within the site. Among the target beneficiaries for Ciudad Kaunlaran are ISFs from ten barangays of Bacoor who would be impacted by the project.
Likewise, she said properties in Barangay Alima would be developed into a Fisherman’s Village for the resettlement of fishermen living along the coastlines of Bacoor Bay, allowing the fishermen to continue plying their trade. A wharf with berthing facility will also be constructed for their use.
Directly-impacted stakeholders would participate in the planning of the resettlement package under the Community-based Initiative Approach of the National Housing Authority (NHA), according to Revilla.
As part of the city government’s support system for relocated families the City Government also vowed to bring to the resettlement sites the “Institutionalized Alagang Ate Lani” program, which includes various forms of social services, including job fairs and free livelihood skills training.
Among the courses included in the skills training are Beadwork, Beauty Care, Bread and Pastry Production, Cake Decoration, Candle Making, Commercial Baking, Cookery, Dressmaking NCII, Floral Arrangement, Food and Beverage Services, Hairdressing, and Massage Therapy.
Supports Manila Bay Clean Up
The City hopes to integrate in the the projects a most effective approach to the long-term clean-up of Manila Bay as mandated by a SC continuing mandamus, with its program for relocation and resettlement of ISFs living along the ten coastal barangays.
In 2008, the SC issued a continuing mandamus, directing the DENR and several other government agencies to clean up, rehabilitate, and preserve Manila Bay, and restore and maintain its waters to make them fit for swimming, skin-diving, and other forms of contact recreation.
Specifically, for the DENR, the Court ordered the full implementation of its Operational Plan for the Manila Bay Coastal Strategy (OPMBCS), which includes the reduction of illegal settlers, establishments and structures along coast lines and prevent future occupation of these shorelines.
As part of the establishment of the Fisherman’s Wharf along Sineguelasan coasts, the local government also said it would develop and preserve the city’s 40-hectare mangroves plantation.
Mangroves, specifically the underwater habitat their roots provide, offer critical nursing environments for juveniles of thousands of fish species. Mangroves also help prevent erosion by stabilizing sediments. They maintain water quality and clarity, filtering pollutants and trapping sediments originating from land.
Studies conducted on the proposed reclamation projects show they pose no significant adverse impact on the surrounding waters and adjacent land areas.
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