Reclamation projects may threaten Manila Bay, warns green group

MANILA – Looming reclamation projects in Manila Bay may
threaten the remaining biodiversity in the heavily polluted
body of water, an environmental group warned Monday.

Rodne Galicha, country manager of Climate Reality Project, said
the government should focus first on rehabilitating Manila Bay
before approving any reclamation projects. 

“Ang reklamasyong ito maapektuhan din pati ang bidoversity
diyan, isa diyang nanganganib ang Freedom Island, pati ang
Mangroves natin diyan,” he told DZMM.

Two large-scale reclamation projects have applied for necessary
permits to develop portions of Manila Bay. 

The Solar City Reclamation Project will cover some 148
hectares, while the Waterfront City Reclamation Project will
cover around 318 hectares in the polluted bay. 

“Sinabi natin, Manila Bay rehabilitation. I-prioritize natin
‘yan. H’wag muna nating dagdagan ng problema,” said Galicha,
stressing the people’s right to clean and healthful ecology.

Representatives of the reclamation projects, meanwhile, assured
that they have studied the plans to develop portions of Manila
Bay to address concerns by environmentalists. 

Edmund Lim, Vice Chairman of Manila Goldcast Development Corp.
which is behind the Solar City project, said they have already
secured an Environmental Compliance Certificate. 

“‘Yung issues ng flooding, basura, flow ng tubig,
sedimentation, na-address na natin yan,” Lim told DZMM, adding
that big international firms have been tapped to review the
reclamation project.

Lim said they are only waiting for a notice to proceed from the
Philippine Reclamation Authority before they can begin
developing portion of Manila Bay. 

For his part, Manny Fernandez, officer in charge for the Manila
Waterfront project, said they are also waiting for their
applications to be approved.

Fernandez assured that the materials that will be used for the
reclamation project will come from the ocean, and not from
quarrying projects. 

“We have successful reclamation in Pasay area. It’s quite
successful and helping a lot in terms of development in Pasay.
So far naman it’s been there several years, no problems,” he
told DZMM.

Environment Secretary Roy Cimatu earlier said the government
will have to review these reclamation projects before deciding
on whether or not to allow them to proceed. 

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