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Saturday, May 25, 2024

President on Manila Bay works: All but one reclamation halted

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President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. said all reclamation projects in Manila Bay, except for one, have been suspended.

“All reclamation activities are suspended. These are under review except for one that has already been reviewed. We saw problems in the implementation,” the President said during a situation briefing in Bulacan on Monday.

“If these projects push through, a lot of rivers will be affected. The sea in Roxas Boulevard will be gone,” he said.

RECLAMATION CONTINUES. Tons of sand from dredging equipment continues to be dumped on areas of Manila Bay on Wednesday. Norman Cruz

Mr. Marcos, however, did not identify which project was given the green light to proceed.

Lawmakers have welcomed the President’s pronouncement.

“I am happy that Mr. Marcos is suspending the reclamation in Manila Bay. This is good news to us who are afraid of ill effects of reclamation which will cause massive flooding in our cities,” said Senator Cynthia Villar, head of the Senate environment and natural resources committee.

Villar earlier warned that if the reclamation project reaches Las Piñas, it may cause six to eight-meter flooding in her hometown.

Opposition Senator Risa Hontiveros said she supports the suspension order of the President as she reiterated her call to reject all China-funded reclamation projects in the country.

“There are questionable entities involved in those projects, particularly the China state-owned China Communications Construction Co. (CCCC), which has historically destroyed our marine ecosystems in the West Philippine Sea. We should not be taking risks with companies like CCCC,” Hontiveros said in a statement on Wednesday.

“These China-funded reclamation projects may cause irreversible damage to our cherished natural resources,” she added.

The fishers’ group Pamalakaya earlier called on the Department of Environment and Natural Resources to suspend the reclamation projects in Manila Bay following the recent severe flooding in Bulacan and Pampanga.

Pamalakaya said the DENR must temporarily halt the reclamation projects “until the proponents scientifically prove that their projects have not aggravated the flood hazards in these coastal areas.”

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