No to reclamation projects at Manila Bay: Duterte

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    PRESIDENT Duterte on Saturday said he will never allow any massive reclamation project in Manila Bay as it would put the “old city” in danger.

    He said he might consider reclamation if the projects are in connection with government projects.

    He added that if there are private-firm initiated programs that involve reclamation in Manila Bay, those might have been approved before his term.

    “There is one important thing that I’d like to make it clear now: Not during my time. I will only allow maybe plans of whatever reclamation if it is in connection with a government project. I will not allow massive reclamation for the private sector. Not now. Because if you approve one, you approve all,” Duterte said at the inauguration of the Sangley Airport Development Project and presentation of the Sangley Point International Airport Project held in Cavite City on Saturday.

    The President also said he placed the Philippine Reclamation Authority (PRA) under his office last year because of reports of massive lobbying for the approval of reclamation projects at the Manila Bay area.

    The PRA was transferred to the Office of the President in February 2019through Executive Order 74.

    Reports said the PRA approved four reclamation projects in December 2019, namely the Navotas City Coastal Bay, two projects in Pasay City involving 360 ad 265 hectares, and the Horizon Manila involving 418 hectares.

    The President said more projects involving reclamation activities in Manila Bay could “choke Manila.”

    “The entire Manila City would be environmentally at peril … For the next administration, whoever gets to be the president of this country, study it very carefully. Because that Manila there, that old city is an old city and it will decay if you add so many things in front of Manila Bay,” he said.

    In February last year, Duterte created the Manila Bay Task Force headed by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources.

    The task force’s main task is to ensure expedited and complete rehabilitation, restoration, and conservation of the coastal and marine ecosystem of the Manila Bay.