DENR To Review All Manila Bay Reclamation Projects
The Department of Environment and Natural Resources is forming a team to review all ongoing reclamation activities following the US Embassy's having expressed reservations over the Manila Bay reclamation project.
Photo Insert: The US Embassy is concerned with the impact the project will have on the environment as well as the involvement of China Communications Construction Co. (CCCC), which the World Bank and Asian Development Bank said engaged in fraudulent business practices.
The controversy that sparked the embassy's apprehension was due to the involvement of a Chinese company in a Manila Bay project, according to DENR Secretary Maria Antonia Yulo-Loyzaga who told a press briefing that the composition of the team will later be made public.
Foreign experts are to be tapped, Loyzaga said, vowing to update the public regarding the review of the reclamation project.
The assurance came after the United States embassy in Manila raised with the Philippine government its concerns over ongoing reclamation projects in Manila Bay and the project’s ties with a Chinese firm blacklisted by the US for helping Beijing construct and militarize artificial islands in the South China Sea.
The embassy had also expressed concern over the environmental impact of reclamation projects in Manila Bay, which are feared to aggravate flooding in Metro Manila and the nearby provinces of Bulacan, Cavite, and Pampanga.
US embassy spokesman Kanishka Gangopadhyay said that the embassy is concerned with the impact the project will have on the environment as well as the involvement of China Communications Construction Co. (CCCC), which the World Bank and Asian Development Bank said engaged in fraudulent business practices.
Environmental group Oceana had urged Loyzaga to halt all Manila Bay reclamation projects while the cumulative impact assessment is ongoing.
“Time is of the essence. The DENR cannot be reviewing all these projects without exercising precautions. It is clear that these projects have already started, and resulted in an alarming degradation of the environment destroying the mangroves, denying fisherfolk their fishing livelihood and sources of food, and the destruction of seagrass and the seabed by dredging. This is simply unjust and unacceptable,” Oceana acting vice president Rose Liza Eisma-Osorio. said.