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Thursday, December 7, 2023

Tulfo measure asks House to probe status of reclamation in Manila Bay

Rep. Erwin Tulfo of the ACT-CIS party-list group on Tuesday sought a congressional inquiry in aid of legislation into the status of the Manila Bay reclamation projects, citing “several concerns on national security.”

Tulfo, in filing House Resolution 1171, said he shared the sentiment of Speaker Martin Romualdez, who also wants to ensure that national security, transparency, environmental sustainability, and the best interest of the public are upheld.

“I was informed by the Speaker that he was concerned after hearing several news reports regarding national security issues in the reclamation area as he remained committed to safeguarding our nation’s security and upholding our territorial integrity and fostering peaceful cooperation in the region,” Tulfo said in a statement.

Tulfo filed the resolution along with fellow ACT-CIS party-list solons Edvic Yap and Jocelyn Tulfo.

The three legislators noted in the resolution that the ongoing reclamation activities in the Manila Bay area “have raised concerns among citizens and various stakeholders.”

They said the reclamation projects may pose a danger to the Philippines after the US government recently raised concerns about the Chinese contractor involved in the projects.

“I have read in several news reports that one of the companies involved in the reclamation project in Manila Bay right now is a construction firm from mainland China, the China Construction Company (CCC). And this same construction company, the news reports added, was also involved in the construction of an airbase and naval base of China in the West Philippine Sea,” Tulfo said.

Earlier, Senator Cynthia Villar also warned that six- to eight-meter floods in Las Piñas City and other nearby areas could likely happen if the ongoing reclamation in Manila Bay reaches her hometown.

Villar, the chairperson of the Senate Committee on the Environment and natural resources, has been strongly objecting to any reclamation project at Manila Bay.

“I’m taking them [to the Supreme Court]. If they don’t revise [their plan], we have no choice. Will I allow my hometown to be submerged in a six-foot flood?” she said.

“If they continue with the reclamation in our part of Manila Bay, there will be no outlet for our four rivers. It was predicted there will be six to eight meters of flooding. Six meters is [equivalent to a] three-story building,” Villar added.

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