InterAksyon.com means BUSINESS
MANILA, Philippines -- Why did City Hall champion a reclamation project that it cancelled in 1992 owing to its potential damage to the marine environment?
The Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (Pamalakaya) and the multisectoral network Koalisyon Kontra Kumbersyon) on Sunday raised this question, saying Manila Mayor Alfredo Lim should explain why he is reviving the reclamation project. The groups said Lim and the City Council should withdraw the reclamation and undertake a no-nonsense rehabilitation of Manila Bay, following a landmark Supreme Court ruling enjoining all national government agencies to do so.
"Why revive this incorrigible project? Sending it back from the grave is really scary figuratively and literally speaking," Fernando Hicap, chairperson of Pamalakaya and lead convener of KKK-Manila Bay coalition, said in a statement to the media.
He said "it is not too late for Mayor Lim and his councilors to retreat and recall the project. The reclamation contract which was rescinded 21 years ago should not be given a second life.”
A notice of award allowed Manila Goldcoast’s parent company, the Elco Development & Construction Corp., to “reclaim and develop” the area near the Manila Yacht Club north of Manila way back in 1991.
However, in 1992, an ordinance was enacted barring any reclamation in the area in order to preserve the bay. The Office of the President ordered the project shelved.
Two weeks ago, the consortium agreement with Manila Gold Coast to develop 148 hectares of the bay was revived, this time reportedly with Lim’s backing.
The reclaimed land will host a business center in the southern end of the Manila-Cavite Coastal Road Reclamation Project (MCCRRP) as supervised by the Philippine Retirement Authority.
The reclamation project covers the southern end of Manila Bay in the city, including portions fronting the Manila Yacht Club and the Philippine Navy, per the agreement between City Hall Manila Goldcoast group.
The PRA affirmed the 1991 awarding of the project to Goldcoast last April 1. After PRA’s go- ahead, the city council passed Ordinance 8233 authorizing Lim to apply for the reclamation with the PRA and effectively repealing the ordinance banning reclamation on the Bay.
The project is one of the 38 reclamation projects in Manila Bay under the National Reclamation Plan (NRP) of PRA.
According to Pamalakaya, the PRA wants to reclaim the 175-hectare mangrove reserve and bird sanctuary in Las Pinas and Paranaque; the 5,000-hectare reclamation project in Cavite City to transform former Sangley Naval Base into a modern seaport and airport in Southern Luzon; and another 5,000-hectare foreshore land in Navotas City for North Bay Boulevard Project (NBBP).
The 38 reclamation projects in Manila Bay will make use of more than 26,000 hectares of coastal areas along Manila Bay, the group said.
All in all, 20,000 hectares of Manila Bay have been reclaimed to host commercial establishments and government structures and facilities, including roads, since the time of Ferdinand Marcos. These include the Folk Arts Theater, the Cultural Center of the Philippines, the Philippine International Convention Center, the GSIS and Senate buildings and now the SM Mall of Asia and the President Diosdado Macapagal Boulevard.
InterAksyon.com means BUSINESS