An infrastructure-oriented thinktank is urging President Rodrigo Duterte to order a review of all unsolicited reclamation proposals along Manila Bay.
“Malacanang should draw first blood and review unsolicited commercial proposals that are still at its initiatory stage, in which no binding agreements have yet been reached with either the local or national government,” Infrawatch PH convenor Terry Ridon was quoted in a statement.
Ridon added that at least eight proposed Manila Bay reclamation projects should be reviewed by Malacanang, namely:
- Bacoor City Reclamation Project
- Baseco Reclamation Project
- BRADI Smart Harbor Manila
- City of Pearl Reclamation Project
- Harbour Center Reclamation Project
- Horizon Manila Reclamation Project
- Manila Waterfront City Reclamation Project
- Paranaque City Reclamation Project
“There should be no serious consequences in reviewing, if not suspending these proposals, as no binding documents have yet been issued either by the local or national government. Suspending these projects would also show the resolve of the President to preserve Manila Bay. More important, these are mostly commercial reclamation proposals unrelated to any government project,” Ridon added.
Ridon explained that there should be a scientific study to review the medium-term and long-term social environmental impact of already existing reclamation projects in Manila Bay.
“By this time, [the] government should already be able to identify whether reclamation areas increased the likelihood of flooding as many environmentalists previously feared. It should also be able to determine whether the economic benefits of reclamation counterbalances the supposed negative environmental impact.”
However, Duterte said there will be no reclamation, adding that, “you wait until the next president. They may look at it kindly at a different lens.”
“If it’s an investment to infuse more money into the Philippine economy, it seems to be okay. But the hugeness of the area you are trying to reclaim to me is almost mind-boggling because (of) that entire 10,0000 hectares. But that big, it’s stupefying. Mukhang (Perhaps), I am not ready for that. I am not ready even to say that I will grant it, not in my time, as long as there is no guarantee that the environment will be protected and the health of the people will also be safeguarded,” Duterte was quoted in an interview.