People's Summit on the Impacts of Reclamation

October 24-25, 2012, University of the Philippines Diliman

People’s NICHE joined Coastal Cleanup of Las Piñas and Parañaque Critical Habitat & Ecotourism Area ( LPPCHEA)


21 September 2013. People’s NICHE volunteers and members joined the 2013 International Coastal Cleanup in Las Piñas and Parañaque Critical  Habitat  & Ecotourism Area ( LPPCHEA) with the call to stop the reclamation in the bird sanctuary. LPPCHEA, a 175-hectare expanse of mangroves, mudflats and wetland that is considered the coastal frontier in Metro Manila, was recently included in the Ramsar List of Wetlands of International Importance last March 3, 2013.



Manila Bay groups invoke wetland treaty against Freedom island reclamation

April 6, 2013 11:00 AM

MANILA, Philippines – Manila Bay-based groups on Saturday announced they would invoke the 1971 Convention on the Protection of Wetlands to stop the national and local governments from pursuing the controversial Las Pinas-Paranaque reclamation project.

The Philippine Reclamation Authority (PRA) and the city governments of Las Pinas and Paranaque are the proponents of the project.

The groups opposing it are the Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (Pamalakaya), Save Freedom Island Movement (SFIM), Sagip Manila Bay Movement (SMBM), Koalisyon Kontra Kumbersyon ng Manila Bay (KKK-Manila Bay) and Anakpawis party list.

In a press statement, Pamalakaya national chairperson and Anakpawis party list vice chairman Fernando Hicap said the inclusion of Las Pinas-Paranaque Critical Habitat and Ecotourism Area on the Ramsar List of Wetlands of International Importance should oblige the government to cease and desist from pushing the reclamation of the more than 600- hectare bird sanctuary south of Manila.

“The 1971 International Convention is clear. As a signatory to the covenant, the Philippine government should not lead the destruction of the last bird sanctuary in Metro Manila. Therefore, this reclamation project that would commence with the grand massacre of the critical habitat area should be permanently thrown to the dustbin of history,” said Hicap.

The site of the controversial reclamation project in Manila Bay is the sixth Philippine site designated as ‘Wetlands of International Importance’, and which was included on the list on March 15.

The others on the list are: Tubbataha Reefs National Marine Park in Sulu (listed on December 11, 1999); Agusan Marsh Wildlife Sanctuary (listed on December 11, 1999); Naujan Lake National Park in Oriental Mindoro (listed on December 11, 1999); Olango Island Wildlife Sanctuary in Cebu (listed on January 7, 1994); and Puerto Princesa Subterranean River National Park in Palawan (listed on June 30, 2012).

The Philippine government, which joined the Ramsar Convention in 1994, is compelled  to undertake wetland conservation considerations in its national land-use planning,” and commit to implement and promote “the wise use of wetlands in their territory, thus any activity that would run contrary to wetland preservation like reclamation is strongly prohibited under the convention, Hicap said.

He added: “We have made a issue clear. It is now the task of the Philippine government to drop the reclamation project and follow the Ramsar convention truthfully.”

The Convention on Wetlands—signed in Ramsar, Iran on 1971— is an intergovernmental treaty that embodies the commitments of its member countries to maintain the ecological character of their Wetlands of International Importance and to plan for the “wise use” or sustainable use of all of the wetlands in their territories

Pamalakaya vice chairperson Salvador France said the reclamation project in Las Pinas-Paranaque which will be soon the site of Las Vegas type casino and entertainment center will displace tens of thousands of small fisherfolk and urban poor dwellers, and “will usher another era of catastrophic floods in 37 barangays in Bacoor, 11 barangays in Paranaque and 17 barangays in Las Pinas with floods with a depth of as much as 5.12 meters or equivalent to two-storey building.”

France said the reclamation project in Las Pinas and Paranaque is just one of over 30 reclamation projects to be undertaken by the PRA along Manila Bay.  He said the Manila government under Mayor Alfredo Lim plans to reclaim another 148 hectares of coastal areas near the Manila Yacht Club along Roxas Boulevard—a project also opposed by a big coalition of sectoral groups. A total of 5,000 hectares of coastal areas in Navotas is also being planned for reclamation.

The PRA is also targeting not less than 13,000 hectares for reclamation in the areas covered by the coastal towns in Bulacan, Pampanga and Bataan. The PRA also has reclamation plans in Tacloban City in Leyte, Bacolod City in Negros Occidental, Leganes in Iloilo, Kalibo in Aklan, Cordova, Lapu-Lapu and Talisay in Cebu, said the Manila Bay-based groups.

Cheat sheet: Manila Bay reclamation

POSTED ON 03/07/2013 6:14 PM  | UPDATED 03/12/2013 10:02 AM

Manila residents protesting the proposed reclamation of Manila Bay

Manila residents protesting the proposed reclamation of Manila Bay

MANILA, Philippines – The Manila Bay reclamation is a complex issue involving many facets.

It touches on various issues that have earned their place in the hearts of thousands of Filipinos, from environmental impact to heritage conservation to economic growth.

Rappler zeroes in on the center of the topic and brings you a cheat sheet to help you navigate through this multifarious issue.

What is reclamation?

Land reclamation is the process of creating new land from oceans, riverbeds or lakes. Soil is transported from an area to a body of water. The soil is then used to create new land called “reclamation ground” or “land fill.”

What will be built on the reclamation ground?

A 148-hectare entertainment hub dubbed the “Solar city” will stand on the reclaimed land. This size is 10 times that of Rockwell Power Plant Mall and twice that of the Luneta Park, according to urban designer Paulo Alcazaren.

Who are the main parties involved?

The Manila Gold Coast Corporation is the developer contracted by the City Council of Manila underMayor Alfredo Lim to reclaim the land.

They are the same developer that applied to reclaim the land in 1993. But because of fierce opposition from citizens against reclamation, Manila created a city ordinance banning all reclamation in Manila Bay from the US embassy to the Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP). Gold Coast was stopped.

The S.O.S. Save Manila Bay Coalition is composed of various groups and individuals who oppose reclamation in the bay. Among these are the CCP, Worldwide Fund for Nature Philippines (WWF-PH), Urban Poor of the City of Manila, Heritage Conservation Society, Heritage Conservation Society Youth, the Parish of Malate and more.

The Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (Pamalakaya) and the multisectoral network Koalisyon Kontra Kumbersyon are also against the project.

The Philippine Reclamation Authority (PRA) is a branch of government tasked with evaluating and overseeing reclamation done anywhere in the Philippines. The Gold Coast application to reclaim must go through this office. The current PRA general manager is Peter Anthony Abaya.

The Environmental Management Bureau (EMB) under the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) is tasked with evaluating the Environmental Compliance Certificate or ECC of Gold Coast. If the EMB denies Gold Coast’s ECC application, Gold Coast cannot reclaim. The current EMB director is Atty Miguel Cuna.

What legislation has been crafted on the issue?

Proclamation 41 by President Ramon Magsaysay in 1954 reserved Manila Bay as a national park for the people.

Republic Act 7586 issued in 1992 under President Fidel Ramos included Manila Bay in the National Integrated Protected Areas System Act of 1992 even if some portions of the bay had already been reclaimed.

City Ordinance 7777 was passed by the City Council of Manila on Jan 13, 1993 banning any form of reclamation along Manila Bay from the US embassy to the Cultural Center of the Philippines. At that time, Alfredo Lim was mayor of Manila.

NCHP Resolution No. 19 S/ 2012 protected by RA 10066 and 10086 of the National Historical Commission declares the Manila Bay and its waterfront by Roxas Boulevard a “National Historical Landmark” protected by the National Cultural Heritage Act of 2009. This recognizes Manila Bay as “cultural property” and should be protected by the government. The act mandates that the bay “shall be maintained as close to their appearance at the time the area was of most importance to Philippine history as determined by the National Historical Institute.”

City Ordinance 8233, passed by the City Council of Manila on June 6, 2011, amended Ordinance 7777 thereby lifting the ban on reclamation. Once again, the mayor of Manila at the time was Lim.

Briefly, what are the reasons supporting reclamation?

In an official statement on Facebook, Gold Coast says the “Solar city” will stimulate economic growth and provide plenty of jobs. It will have “the first international cruise ship terminal that will bring tourists to the area.”

It also downplays fears that the “Solar city” will obstruct the famed sunset view because it will be located perpendicular to the waterfront (stretching from behind the Philippine Navy headquarters) and not parallel to it.

Briefly, what are the reasons for opposing the reclamation?

The various coalitions against it maintain that the project will exacerbate flooding in Manila.

The reclaimed land will block rainwater from escaping to the sea thereby trapping it within the city. Because the reclaimed land will be higher than the water, it will form a bowl that will keep flood waters in.

The coalitions say that the reclamation will ruin the historical Manila Bay waterfront. The previously uninterrupted horizon will be partially blocked by the “Solar city,” changing the bay forever.

They also cry foul that so many ordinances and national laws were bypassed for the project. The lack of public consultation and lack of transparency from Gold Coast also disturbs them.

For more details, read DOT Sec Jimenez: Entertainment city ‘not been taken up with me’ and The battle for Manila Bay: Citizens rise against reclamation.

What has been done?

Last February 12, concerned citizens formed a human chain along Manila Bay to protest against the reclamation. Over 3,000 people participated. Read about the event here.

An online petition is circulating to persuade authorities that citizens do not want reclamation or the “Solar city.” The aim of the petition is to persuade the City Council of Manila to once again ban reclamation projects in Manila Bay.

The S.O.S. Save Manila Bay Coalition has submitted a position paper to Atty Miguel Cuna of the Environmental Management Bureau under DENR. The paper aims to show EMB the negative environmental impact of the project in hopes that they will deny Gold Coast’s ECC application. Once denied this, Gold Coast cannot proceed with reclamation.

As of the moment, Gold Coast needs only a Notice to Proceed before beginning the project.

What can still be done?

The coalitions against reclamation call on more citizens and sectors to sign and distribute the petition. You can read and sign the petition here.

If you personally know the people involved with the reclamation project, engage them in discussion and ask them to respond to the many complaints against it.

Citizens should demand transparency from Gold Coast and the branches of government involved in the project. At this stage, citizens should be paying close attention to the movements of DENR regarding Gold Coast’s ECC.

In the coming mayoral elections, Manila residents can demand to know the positions of Manila mayoral candidates Joseph Ejercito Estrada and Alfredo Lim on reclamation in Manila Bay. – 

Hundreds call to stop reclamation in Manila Bay on Earth Day

Boat parade across the boulevard to save the city

Press Release
21 April 2013

In festive celebration of Earth Day, environmental advocates, fisherfolks, athletes and artists sailed across Manila Bay waters earlier today and called on the government to “save our cities and save our bay” from reclamation.

Fluvial protest at Manila Bay

Fluvial protest at Manila Bay

“Reclamation projects in the cities of Manila, Las Pinas and Paranaque are further threatening the ecosystem of our beloved Bay. Mangrove forests, fishing communities, historical sites, and even the globally renowned Manila sunset boulevard will be negatively affected by reclamation,” said Clemente Bautista, national coordinator of green activist group Kalikasan Peoples Network for the Environment (Kalikasan PNE), co-organizer of the boating event.

Members of the Philippine Kayak Association and local fishermen from Paranaque City sailed more than 30 marine vessels composed of kayaks, dragon boats and bancas from the Manila Yacht Club to the US Embassy. The symbolic and colorful boating activity was co-organized by the Cultural Center of the Philippines, Kalikasan PNE and other socio-civic groups opposing plans to further reclaim the coastal areas of Metro Manila.

Under the National Reclamation Plan (NRP), 26,234 hectares of foreshore areas in Manila Bay will be reclaimed and developed for commercial and leisure purposes. The target areas for reclamation along Manila Bay comprise 70 percent of the 38,000 hectares approved by the Philippine Reclamation Authority for the NRP.

Dr. Jojo Carabeo, spokeperson of the anti-reclamation alliance People’s Network for the Integrity of Coastal Habitat and Ecosystems (People’s NICHE), said that reclamation is a ‘double-edged’ environmental disaster.

“Reclamation will cause irreversible damage to marine and terrestrial ecosystems. Million metric tons of soil materials will be dumped in the sea, killing marine microorganisms and rendering the rehabilitation of Manila Bay impossible. To produce these dumping materials, mountains and hills in nearby provinces will be leveled down and destroyed,” explained Carabeo.

The proposed reclamation from Bataan to Cavite will also affect the Las Pinas-Paranaque Critical Habitat and Ecotourism Area (LPPCHEA), which was recently proclaimed as a RAMSAR site or an internationally protected wetland.

“Instead of reclamation, what we need is rehabilitation of our marine and coastal habitats so that we could preserve our remaining natural resources and increase the environmental services enjoyed by the people from these ecosystems,” said Carabeo.

People’s NICHE is campaigning for a moratorium on the implementation of the NRP pending a fully transparent, independent, scientific, and legal assessment of the ecological, health, and socio-economic impacts of reclamation projects in the country.#


Calls to stop Manila Bay reclamation projects snowball

Published on Tuesday, 09 April 2013 19:02Written by Jonathan Mayuga


AN alliance of people’s and nongovernmental organizations has joined the call to stop the massive land-reclamation projects and urged the government to instead undertake measures to restore the beauty of Manila Bay.

The group, which calls itself People’s Network for the Integrity of Coastal Habitats and Ecosystem (People’s NICHE) described Manila Bay as “a historical leisure place that must be conserved for people of all ranks in society.”

Jojo Carabeo, spokesman for the group, said Manila Bay allows people from all walks of life, regardless of their wealth and social status, to enjoy the beauty of the sunset by just watching it on Manila Bay.

“We cannot allow a project that will impede the people’s enjoyment of this communal space, where people, regardless of their wealth, converge to appreciate the beauty of nature,” Carabeo, said in a statement.

The group said the historic Manila Bay and its sunset are, by itself, a tourist attraction. Many residents of Manila, including families, friends and even lovers, from other cities in Metro Manila frequent the place for a fresh air and simply to watch the beauty of the sunset “without paying a single centavo.”

The group supports calls earlier issued by Save our Sunset Manila Bay Coalition (SOS Manila Bay Coalition) which opposed, in particular, a multi-million-peso development project approved by the city government of Manila on Manila Bay that will require the reclamation of some 144 hectares of foreshore areas between the Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP) complex area, a project that was developed through the massive land reclamation of the bay in the 1980s itself, and the US Embassy in Manila.

Members of SOS Manila Bay Coalition, led by Doris Magsaysay-Ho, and World Wide Fund for Nature Philippines Executive Director Lory Tan denounced the development of “Solar City,” a semi residential and commercial complex project of Manila Gold Coast Development Corp. of businessman Wilson Tieng and Solar TV in the area.

Members of the SOS Manila Bay Coalition said the project may lead to more flooding in low-lying areas adjacent to it, aside from the fact that killing the sunset view will have adverse impact to the value of the properties facing the bay.

The group earlier threatened to take legal action against the project’s proponents and vowed to make the development project an election issue by lobbying to presidential and senatorial bets in the midterm election this May to help save the sunset view of Manila Bay.

SOS Manila Bay Coalition was formed more than 20 years ago to stop the same development project, which has been revived with the backing of Manila Mayor Alfredo Lim last year.

They questioned the propriety of the project in general, by questioning the legal process by which the contract for it was awarded by the city government of Manila, without thorough study of its impact to people and environment and without proper consultation with those to be affected by the project.

Earlier, the Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (Pamalakaya), a national organization of small fishermen threatened to bring to court government officials who approved the reclamation projects that they say will result in the economic dislocation of thousands of small fishermen as the reclamation projects will literally destroy the coastal and marine ecosystem along Manila Bay.

The multibillion project near the CCP Complex and the US Embassy in Manila is just one of the 102 development projects approved by the Philippine Reclamation Authority (PRA) under the National Reclamation Plan that will be implemented all over the country.

The projects require the land reclamation of 38,000 hectares of foreshore areas.

According to People’s NICHE, 38 percent of the 102 reclamation projects encompassing 26,234 hectares or 70 percent of target scope of reclamation will be implemented in Manila Bay.

These projects will cover several costal towns of Cavite province, including Cavite City, Tanza, Noveleta, Rosario, Kawit and Baccor City, and the coastal cities of Metro Manila and coastal towns of Bulacan, Pampanga and Bataan in Central Luzon.

Clemente Bautista, leader of the Kalikasan People’s Network for the Environment and coordinator of People’s NICHE, said reclamation is harmful to the marine environment. Manila Bay, he said, is a crucial link in marine cosystems that sustain fish production in the country.

“Once we reclaim these areas, there is no way that we can rehabilitate the original ecosystems in the Manila Bay,” Bautista said.


Aquino gov’t want 102 Temptation Islands through land reclamation, says fishers

Manila : Philippines | Apr 04, 2012 at 9:21 AM PDT

By Gloria Madonna Velarde, Sugar Hicap and Ella Mae France

MANILA, Philippines—(UPDATE)A group of activist fisherfolk in the country on Tuesday urged President Benigno Simeon Aquino III to stop the Philippine Reclamation Authority (PRA) from constructing man-made islands through massive reclamation projects.

“We strongly urge President Aquino to stop the PRA which is under the Office of the President from creating left-and-right Temptation islands all over the country.

Imagine, the PRA under the Public Private Partnership (PPP) program of this administration, private developers will be allowed to build 102 man-made islands, and they have the assurance of the Aquino government that they will get what they want in terms of huge return on their investment sealed with sovereign guarantee from Malacanang” said Gerry Albert Corpuz, information officer of Pamalakaya fisherfolk alliance.

The 102 Temptation Island projects to be constructed through land-reclamation include the 38 reclamation projects in Manila Bay that will cover 26, 234 hectares of foreshore lands from Cavite City to Bataan province, the 7 reclamation projects along Davao Gulf which will entail land reclamation of 238 hectares and 50 more reclamation projects in Panay island, Guimaras, Negros Island, Cebu and Leyte provinces.

‘It would be politically incorrect and morally disturbing on the part of Aquino administration to change the geography of the country from an archipelago of 7,101 islands to 7,196 islands with 102 man-made islands at stake for construction under this graphically insane PPP reclamation program just to attract investments and please financial oligarchs and speculators across-the-globe. This is wrong, very wrong,” said Corpuz.

Pamalakaya and Anakpawis party list had strongly rebuked the plan of the PRA to reclaim 26, 234 hectares of foreshore land in Manila Bay. The groups said the reclamation in the historic bay is a top priority of Malacanang and PRA under the PPP program. They said the 635 hectare foreshore area and the 175 hectare bird sanctuary in Las Pinas and Paranaque are part of the ambitious reclamation project of PRA along Roxas Boulevard.

Citing documents obtained from the DENR and the PRA, Pamalakaya and Anakpawis said there are 38 reclamation projects in Manila Bay and these projects will entail land reclamation activities in Cavite, National Capital Region (NCR), Bulacan, Pampanga and Bataan.

The groups said on top of the 38 reclamation projects along the shores of Manila Bay, there are 7 reclamation projects along Davao Gulf that constitute 238 hectares and 50 other reclamation projects covering 5,800 hectares of foreshore land areas that include additional man-made land areas in Cagayan Special Economic Zone (220 hectares), Albay Gulf (100 hectares), Leganes Reclamation in Iloilo (1,200 hectares), Bacolod City reclamation (250 hectares), Semirara Island Reclamation (980 hectares), Kalibo reclamation (200 hectares), Isabel reclamation (113 hectares) in Leyte, Talisay Reclamation (250 hectares) in Cebu and San Jose de Buenavista Reclamation (300 hectares) in Antique.

On December 5, 2011, PRA General Manager and CEO Peter Anthony Abaya formally asked environment Secretary Ramon Paje to issue area clearances for 50 reclamation projects which the PRA wishes to undertake in soonest time possible.

In his letter to Paje, Abaya said the issuance of clearances by the DENR is necessary so the PRA could process applications to reclaim within areas in the National Reclamation Plan (NRP) to ensure that such areas are free of any legal impediments.

The PRA chief said the NRP project was presented to and approved by the Cabinet Economic Cluster Committee sometime in June and July 2011. It said the cluster group had recognized the huge potential investments that reclamation projects in the NRP could generate similar to Hong Kong, Japan and Singapore experience.

Abaya further said other countries are implementing reclamation projects not only by the hundred but thousands of hectares as tool in achieving economic growth and development. He said the PRA is in receipt of a proposal from the Pasay City government for a 50-hectare reclamation project within its jurisdiction along the NRP Manila Bay sector.

On December 12, 2011, DENR undersecretary Atty. Analiza Rebuelta-Teh issued a memorandum to all regional executive directors of the DENR except NCR and Regions IX and XII regarding the request of a programmatic Area clearance sought by PRA for its 50 reclamation projects under NRP.

Undersecretary Teh asked concerned regional directors of the DENR to undertake prompt action on the request of PRA and keep PRA chief Abaya well informed about the status of the request.

Instead of reclamation, Pamalakaya and Anakpawis insisted that the Aquino government should undertake a massive mangrove reforestation program in Manila Bay to save this once highly productive fishing ground from eventual death and destruction.

‘If the Aquino administration and the DENR want to save Manila Bay and bring back its old glory of clean environment, pristine waters and productive fishing ground, the mangrove reforestation, not reclamation is the logical, scientific and logical action to this objective.

Instead of pushing for the privatization and conversion of Manila Bay, the government should come out with a comprehensive rehabilitation plan that will involve mangrove reforestation with the key support of small fishermen and community residents in all fishing villages situated along Manila Bay,” the groups said.

Pamalakaya had been at logger heads with PRA since the early 90s over reclamation projects in Manila Bay. The group claimed that PRA had approved the reclamation of more than 20,000 hectares of foreshore areas along the stretch of Manila Bay since the era of the late strongman Ferdinand Marcos.

The group claimed reclaimed lands in Manila Bay played host to SM Mall of Asia, the President Diosdado Macapagal-Boulevard and pre-Marcos establishments such as the Cultural Center of the Philippines, the Folk Arts Theater, the Philippine International Convention Center, the Coconut Palace, the GSIS and the current Senate Building, the Manila Film Center and the Philippine Westin Plaza in Pasay and Manila areas.

Pamalakaya said during the term of former President and now Pampanga congresswoman Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, the PRA reclaimed 7,100 hectares of coastal areas in Cavite to give way to the construction of R-1 Expressway Extension Road Project.

It said another 5,000 hectares of foreshore areas in Cavite City is being undertaken for the expansion and development of Sangley Point as an international seaport in Southern Tagalog.

On June 21, 2007, then President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo signed Executive Order No. 629 directing the PRA to develop Sangley Point in Cavite City into a logistical hub with modern seaport and an airport, citing the R-1 expressway extension project as enabling component.

The group said PRA is “hell bent” to reclaim the 175-hectare mangrove forest along the Manila bay, which serves as shelter for several species of waterfowl and birds. Pamalakaya said the reclamation project in Las Pinas-Paranaque coastal lagoon will also entail the reclamation of additional 635 hectares of coastal waters adjacent to Las Pinas-Paranaque coastal lagoon.

Pamalakaya said during the year 1992-1995, some 3,500 small fisherfolk and their families in Pasay Reclamation Area and another 3,000 coastal and urban poor families along the coastal shores of Parañaque were evicted by the government of former President Fidel Ramos to give way to reclamation projects which is now home of the commercial buildings.

Pamalakaya also disclosed that in Navotas City, there are also some reclamation activities going on. It said that the national government is pushing the North Bay Boulevard Project (NBBP) in Navotas City that will entail the reclamation of not less than 5,000 hectares of foreshore lands to the detriment of more than 20,000 fishing and urban poor families who will be immediately displaced once this national project proceeds. @

Environmentalists slam Manila Bay reclamation |

Uploaded on 4:28PM Feb 7, 2013

640_ZZZ_020713_2_b GMA network Danny Pata

At a press briefing in Manila on Thursday, members of the newly-formed People’s Network for the Integrity of Coastal Habitats and Ecosystems (Peoples’ NICHE) call for the restoration, instead of reclamation of the coastal waters of Manila Bay. The environmentalists said the project will endanger the fragile marine ecosystem which contributes to food production and mitigates the disastrous effects of calamities. Danny Pata