Environment & Climate Metro

Moratorium up on new Manila Bay reclamation; gov’t urged to revoke pending, ongoing projects

By Jeanne Michael Penaranda
MANILA – “We are elated with this recent development but our fight against reclamation is far from over. Currently, there are at least 21 reclamation projects across Manila Bay that have to be revoked.”
Thus said the militant fisherfolk group Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (PAMALAKAYA) on May 10 following the moratorium on new applications for reclamation projects as a result of continued objection from the fisherfolks and environmental communities.
However, the moratorium will not cover the 21 reclamation projects in Manila Bay, which have already acquired environmental compliance certificates (ECCs) from the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR).

“While we welcome the moratorium on new applications for reclamation, we demand that the ongoing and pending reclamation projects be unequivocally revoked. These approved projects are too many and destructive for our marine ecosystems and coastal communities,” the group said.

“What good is a moratorium on new applications if existing ones continue to ravage our marine environment and the livelihood of fisherfolk?” the group asked.

Specifically, the DENR should unconditionally cancel the environmental permits granted to 21 reclamation projects in Manila Bay, the group stressed.

“We vow to continue our collective efforts until every single reclamation across the archipelago is put to stop and the companies behind these destructive projects be held accountable,” said Fernando Hicap, PAMALAKAYA National Chairperson, in a statement.

Among the reclamation projects with ECCs are the 420-hectare reclamation project in Bacoor City, Cavite; the 2, 500-hectare Bulacan Aerotropolis; the 360-hectare reclamation project in Pasay City; the 650-hectare reclamation project in Navotas City; and the 419-hectare Horizon Manila project.

On May 8, PAMALAKAYA participated in the Experts Forum on Reclamation held by the DENR at the Century Park Hotel in Malate, Manila. At the forum, Hicap presented the group’s position against reclamation and highlighted its negative impact on the environment and the livelihoods of fishers and those living in coastal communities.