People's Summit on the Impacts of Reclamation

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

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.



Urgent Request for Nationwide Moratorium on Reclamation Projects


President Simeon Benigno C. Aquino III

Malacanang Palace, Manila

Mr. Peter Anthony A. Abaya

General Manager and CEO

Philippine Reclamation Authority (Public Estates Authority)

7th Floor, Legaspi Towers 200 Bldng.

107 Paseo de Roxas Street, Legaspi Village

1226 City of Makati


Secretary Arsenio M. Balisacan

Socioeconomic Planning Secretary

National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA)

12 Saint Josemaria Escriva Drive

 Ortigas Center, Pasig City 1605


Secretary Ramon J.P. Paje

Department of Environment and Natural Resources

Visayas Avenue, Diliman, 1100 Quezon City, Philippines

Secretary Mar Roxas

Department of the Interior and Local Government A. Francisco Gold Condominium II

EDSA cor. Mapagmahal St, Diliman, Quezon City 1100


 Secretary Proceso J. Alcala

Department of Agriculture

Elliptical Road,

Diliman, Quezon City 1100

Secretary Florencio B. Abad

Department of Budget and Management

General Solano St., San Miguel, Manila


Vice-Chairperson Mary Ann Lucille Sering

Philippine Climate Change Commission

Malacanang Palace, Manila


Chairman Felipe M. de Leon, Jr.

National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA)

633 NCCA Building, Gen. Luna Street

Intramuros, Manila

Subject: Urgent Request for Nationwide Moratorium on Reclamation Projects

Dear President Aquino, Madame Sering and Gentlemen:

Warm greetings!

The People’s Network for the Integrity of Coastal Habitats and Ecosystems (People’s NICHE), a network of  scientists, fisherfolk, environmentalists and concerned citizens organizations in different parts of the country, seeks a moratorium on the implementation of the National Reclamation Plan (NRP) pending a fully transparent, independent, scientific, and legal assessment of its ecological, health, and socio-economic impacts.

The NRP target areas include 70% of the coastal areas along Manila Bay (26,234 hectares), affecting several towns of Cavite in Southern Luzon, the Metro Manila coastal cities, and coastal towns of Bulacan, Pampanga, and Bataan in Central Luzon. Other big reclamation plans are in Cebu’s Mactan Channel, covering 6,000 hectares in Cordova, Talisay, Lapulapu, Naga, Minglanilla, Mandaue, and Consolacion; 1,280 hectares in Antique and 1,200 hectares in Leganes, Iloilo, Panglao, Bohol (650 hectares), Negros Occidental (253 hectares), Aklan (240 hectares), Albay (240 hectares), Davao Gulf (238 hectares), Leyte (233 hectares), and Cagayan (220 hectares).

The target reclamation area in Manila Bay is a vital part of a bigger and critical ecosystem.  The affected Bay area from Bataan to Cavite includes the Las Pinas-Paranaque Critical Habitat and Ecotourism Area (LPPCHEA), which has only recently been proclaimed as a RAMSAR site or an internationally protected wetland. The whole Bay area is connected biologically to mangroves, mudflats, sandy beaches, seagrass beds, coral reefs, which links to a network of rivers and estuaries that  act as a drainage system of the Caraballo and Sierra Madre mountains.

Collectively, these coastal ecosystems offer shoreline protection, pollution assimilation, maintenance of nutrient cycles, carbon sequestration, and serve as catch basins, as well as breeding grounds and habitats of our critical fishery resources.

The United Nations Food and Agricultural Organisation have said that reclamation is the most irreversible form of environmental degradation. Although the Philippines has been scientifically found to be at the center of the center of marine biodiversity, years of neglect and irresponsible practices have left 98% of Philippine coral reefs at risk, 75% of mangrove areas lost in 82 years, and reduction of seagrass beds by 50% in 50 years. A reckless implementation of the NRP would surely add to these losses.

Reclaiming the said coastal areas in the scale proposed in the National Reclamation Plan, is bound to seriously alter the natural coastline length of the country, noted to be the highest among tropical countries, and that a recent study by Sanciangco, etal.(2013) has proven to be a major factor for the country’s wealth in marine biodiversity.

Fisherfolks mounted a fluvial parade in support of the call to stop the reclamation in Manila Bay

Fisherfolks mounted a fluvial parade in support of the call to stop the reclamation in Manila Bay

Reclamation will also alter the circulation of the water, leading to reduction in water quality and increased pollution. Changes to the physical natural environment resulting from reclamation can further lead to erosion, increased flood and typhoon risks, high storm surges during tropical storms and torrential rains, resulting to the stirring up of heavy metals and toxins already deposited in the sea floor.

All of these could not only negatively impact our environment, but can also wreak havoc on those who live and rely on the area for livelihood. We consider this to be in direct violation of our rights for socio-economic growth, healthy environment and human rights of the people as enshrined in our Constitution.

Implementation of the NRP would also substantially damage the historical and cultural values in the Manila Bay area. The Bay holds special significance in the fight for Philippine independence, as a historical gateway of trade and commerce for the nation even prior to the Spanish arrival, and as a natural reminder of local history and culture of Metro Manilans.

The NRP is envisioned to contribute some economic gain to the country. Scientific studies indicate, however, that the resulting over-all cost to the environment, the inevitable losses of fisheries and marine resources and loss of livelihood for sectors dependent on the affected coastal areas would far outweigh the projected gain and would be virtually irreversible.

Mr. President, to ignore these would be to violate our socio-economic and political rights, as enshrined in the Constitution as well as your “Social Contract with the People,” where your administration has committed to a Transformational Leadership that shall bring about an … “alternative, inclusive urban development where people of varying income levels are integrated in productive, healthy and safe communities…”

We thus call on your office and the various government agencies to undertake instead, a comprehensive review and a rigorous independent scientific and legal assessment of the Plan’s impacts on ecology, quality of life, heritage, climate, economy and sustainability, in collaboration with the various sectors and genuine stakeholder participation

Considering the above, the People’s NICHE, along with other concerned citizens of the country, earnestly urge you to listen to the voice of the people and reassess the NRP before engaging on a plan that would destroy our most valuable assets: our people and our environment. We hope to have an audience with you at your earliest convenience to further articulate our position.

We hope for your response to this letter, within ten days, pursuant to the provisions of RA 9485, the Anti-Red Tape Act. Thank you.

Very truly yours,


People’s Network for the Integrity of Coastal Habitats and Ecosystems (People’s NICHE)

c/o Center for Environmental Concerns-Philippines, No. 26 Matulungin St. Barangay Central, Quezon City 1100

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

Repeal Reclamation of Manila Bay | The Manila Bulletin Newspaper Online

Repeal Reclamation of Manila Bay

By DR. Florangel Rosario Braid
February 5, 2013, 6:26pm

The conflict over the proposed P14-billion reclamation project in Manila Bay pits protagonists from the Manila Goldcoast Development Corporation, the Manila and Las Piñas City Governments, the Philippine Reclamation Authority, and the Department Environmental of Natural Resources, and Environmental Management Bureau (EMB) which denied demands to recall its approval for an environmental compliance certificate, on one side, and on the other 12 environmental and fisherfolk groups including Pamalakaya, Koalisyon Kontra Konbersyon ng Manila Bay, Save Freedom Island Movement, Sagip Manila Bay Movement, Anakpawis Manila Bay Chapter, Kalikasan People’s Network. One legal ground cited by the petitioners was that there had been no public bidding for the project. Lory Tan, CEO of World Wildlife Fund (WWF) Philippines notes that “reclamation is a risky technology because of rising sea levels and incessant rainfall. The Philippines has one of the highest sea level rises in the world and reclamation would only aggravate it.” He cites WWF studies which show that a poorly planned reclamation can create a giant bowl between Manila and the seashore. The natural slope of the bay helps drain rain water but after a reclamation, the slope is replaced by higher ground and the rain water is unable to flow elsewhere thus creating a flood area.

An ongoing signature campaign seeks support for the  repeal of Ordinance No. 8233 which will reclaim 148 hectares of foreshore and offshore areas along the Manila Bay coastline near the Yacht Club/Philippine Navy basin and adjacent to the seawall of the Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP). The campaign also seeks to restore Ordinance No. 7777 passed in 1993 which prohibits any form of reclamation along Manila Bay.

The Manila Coalition also presses for the cancellation of the contract made in June 2011 between the Manila City government and the developer  without due consultation with the people. This ordinance authorized Mayor Alfredo Lim to proceed with the reclamation.

In its petition, the Coalition cited the lowering of the land surface by several centimeters to more than a decimeter a year in the areas of Ermita, Malate, and Intramuros. This is caused by excessive extraction of ground water where existing infrastructure can no longer support the aggressive development of the area. Already, extreme pressure is placed on the inadequate water and power supply, traffic, sewage and sanitation. On cultural grounds, it cites RA 7586 (1992) which declares that the Manila Bay must be considered as a protected landscape and seascape, and the resolution declaring Roxas Boulevard as a National Historical Landmark.

Rep. Cynthia Villar, one of the first to file a protest,  secured a Writ of Kalikasan from the Supreme Court arguing that the reclamation project presented an economic and environmental threat to about 1.5 million residents in Las Piñas and Parañaque.

But the Manila Goldcoast Development Corporation denied these claims saying that “the Project to be located at the back of the Philippine Navy and the Yacht Club, will abide by world class best practices and use, and ‘state of the art green technology’.” It will not cause floods and will in fact reduce the occurrence of floods. The corporation further argues that the Project would not disrupt the marine ecology and human settlers in the area. The commercial center and an international cruise ship terminal which will be built within the site will in fact boost tourism.

But the petitioners remain unconvinced and resolute in their stance and ask all citizens to join the campaign, not just against the Manila reclamation project but for other similar projects being planned.  Abangan ang susunod.

Repeal Reclamation of Manila Bay | The Manila Bulletin Newspaper Online.

Press release: Broad alliance calls on Manila LGU: Restoration, not reclamation, in Manila Bay

from People’s Network for the Integrity of Coastal Habitats and Ecosystems (Peoples’ NICHE)
A multi-sectoral alliance for the protection of marine ecosystems is 600915_304768232978513_1890495880_npushing Manila Mayor Alfredo Lim to revoke the city ordinance lifting the ban on reclamation in Manila Bay and allowing Manila Goldcoast Development Corporation to reclaim a portion of the bay for commercial and business purposes.
The newly-formed People’s Network for the Integrity of Coastal Habitats and Ecosystems (Peoples’ NICHE) calls for the restoration, instead of reclamation, of the coastal waters of Manila Bay, amid talks of plans by the local government to open the site for the construction of “Solar City,” a commercial complex for entertainment and tourism.
Community leaders and conveners of the People’s NICHE called for restoring Manila Bay instead of reclaiming the bay during launching of the People’s NICHE today at the RJMC Bldg, Malate Church.
“Further reclamation of Manila Bay will greatly endanger the fragile marine ecosystem which contributes to food production and mitigates the disastrous effects of calamities and floods in nearby areas. The bay also has historical and cultural value that must be preserved for future generations,” said People’s NICHE spokesperson Dr. Jojo Carabeo.
Reclamation is touted by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization as “an irreversible form of environmental degradation.”
“What the national and Manila City government should focus is to restore the previous pristine environment of Manila Bay and surrounding communities. Until now, the government has not implemented the comprehensive clean up of the bay as ordered by the Supreme Court (SC) for the Department of Environment and Natural Resources and 10 other government agencies,” Dr. Carabeo explained.
The SC on February 15, 2011 rendered a decision based on recommendations by the Manila Bay Advisory Committee (MBAC) to set time frames for the agencies to perform the clean up ordered in a “writ of continuing mandamus”. The mandamus was issued in December 2008 as a result of a complaint filed by “concerned residents of Manila Bay” on the alleged inaction of government to improve the bay’s condition.
“The country’s annual fish catch is on a steady decline largely attributable to severe degradation of coastal and marine habitats with up to 98 percent of our coral reefs currently at risk at present, 75.6 percent of mangroves lost in the past 82 years, and 50 percent of seagrass beds lost in the past 50 years,” read the People’s NICHE unity statement.
The broad network has earlier called for the national government to impose a 10-year moratorium on all reclamation projects in the country, a sanction endorsed by 75 organizations that convened in the first ever People’s Summit on the Impacts of Reclamation held last year.
“The history of reclamation projects is riddled with corruption and the lack of social acceptability like what we experienced in the controversial PEA-Amari deal and the anomalous Diosdado Macapagal Highway project. Also, thousands of families in Metro Manila were displaced by reclamation projects,” said Kalikasan PNE National Coordinator Clemente Bautista, Jr.
“Reclamation is an aberration under existing legal framework for ecological sustainability and the climate challenges that we face. The Local Government Code likewise requires a national law and a plebiscite in the event of substantial alteration of the territorial boundaries of local government units,” added Atty. Gloria Ramos of the Philippine Earth Justice Center.
People’s NICHE is a nation-wide alliance convened by Center for Environmental Concerns-Philippines, PAMALAKAYA, Institute of Environmental Science and Meteorology – UP Diliman, AGHAM – Advocates of Science and Technology for the People, Kalikasan People’s Network for the Environment, Kalikasan Partylist, ASAP – Alliance for Stewardship and Authentic Progress, Philippine Earth Justice Center and Central Visayas Fisherfolk Development Center Inc. ###
People’s NICHE Conveners: Clemente Bautista (09228449787), Dr. Jojo Carabeo (09194648631), Atty. Gloria Ramos 09228532108)

PH environment agency refused to recall reclamation permits

Manila : Philippines | Jan 20, 2013 at 4:02 AM PST

By Prince Philippe Vera Cruz and Gerry Albert Copuz

MANILA, Philippines –(UPDATE) A top environmental official of the Manila government has rejected the demand of groups opposed to large-scale reclamation projects to recall environmental clearances it had issued to corporate developers over the last several years.

The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) rejected the Omnibus demand of the fisherfolk alliance Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (Pamalakaya) to recall environmental compliance certificates (ECCs) to land reclamation projects along Manila Bay, as well as the group’s plea for the environmental agency to cease and desist from issuing ECCs for same purpose.

In a letter to Pamalakaya vice chairperson Salvador France dated January 9, 2013, Atty. Juan Miguel T. Cuna, Office In Charge- Director of CESO IV of the DENR- Environmental Management Bureau said the DENR regrets to inform fisherfolk group that the department cannot on the basis alone of perceived disasters grant the request to invalidate all the approved ECCs for reclamation projects as well as junk outrightly all pending applications.

“Please be guided that an ECC is a document showing that a proposed project has undergone an environmental study and the adverse environmental effects of the proposed project has somewhat predicted, and corresponding measures to arrest or mitigate the same will be implemented by the proponent,” Cuna argued.

“If we are to invalidate these documents, the primary intention of the Environmental Impact Assessment of protecting the environment will be put to naught,” the DENR official said.

Atty. Cuna said these reclamation projects in Manila Bay had been issued ECCs because proponents diligently undergone the process of mandated under the Philippine EIS System (PD 1586) and its Implementing Rules and Regulations (DAO 2003-30).

He said the request of Pamalakaya for ECC cancelation needs careful study and that hard evidence should b presented to clearly show that reclamation projects will cause environmental damages if and when implemented.

On October 16 last year, Pamalakaya asked DENR Secretary Ramon Paje to recall all ECCs issued to reclamation proponents in Manila Bay. In their letter, the group said it was highly disturbed with the admission of the DENR that the agency will never be a major obstacle to the reclamation projects to be undertaken by the Philippine Reclamation Authority (PRA) and local government units along the bay.

Pamalakaya particularly requested the DENR to recall the ECC given to the controversial Las Pinas-Paranaque Coastal Bay project which involved 203 hectares of coastal areas in Paranaque coastal territory and 431 hectares in Las Pinas territory.

The militant group insisted that the P 14-B reclamation project will affect the economic and social being of 552,550 population in 16 barangays of Paranaque City and 532,330 residents of Las Pinas.

Pamalakaya said the reclamation project in Las Pinas and Paranaque is just one of the 36 reclamation projects that would cover 26, 234 hectares from Cavite, National Capital Region and Bulacan, Pampanga and Bataan, all in Central Luzon. The militant group along Koalisyon Kontra Kumbersyon ng Manila Bay (KKK-Manila Bay), Save Freedom Island Movement (SFIM), Sagip Manila Bay Movement (SMBM) and Anakpawis party list-Manila Bay chapter said the impact of reclamation that paved way for the construction of Cavite Expressway (Cavitex) affected the livelihood of small fishermen.

They said fish catch was reduced from a high of 10 kilos per fishing trip to 3 kilos to 5 kilos per fishing trip. They also said due to reclamation, several hundreds of hectares of mussel farms were demolished causing grave economic difficulties to small fishermen and medium scale mussel operators in Bacoor. @