With a new government in place, big businessmen are in a frenzy to corner contracts to reclaim close to 1,000 hectares in Manila Bay fronting the cities of Manila, Pasay City and Paranaque City.
The trouble with projects is that they will be destroying the waters and coastal lines which form part of the public domain and yet they all aim at pleasing the needs of the private sector for business expansions with the government, owner of the all the supposed to be reclaimed areas, in the lowest priority of the equation.
This brings to the fore the first Manila Bay reclamation project undertaken during the administration of then President Ferdinand Marcos which had the government as the main beneficiary. Thus, from the reclaimed area rose the Cultural Center of the Philippines Complex which includes the Folk Art Theater, the Coconut Palace, the Film Center and the Philippine International Convention Center which the government and the people have been using for local and foreign guests since 1969 are still using going into its 50th year by 2017.
Sad to state but the second and third reclamations undertaken under the aegis of the Philippine Reclamation Authority, a national government agency in charge of such projects, with the Pasay City and Paranaque City governments, are sprinkled with expensive malls, expensive hotels and condominium buildings, private offices buildings and casinos, among others, all controlled by greedy private businesses.
It’s good that some leaders like Sen. Cynthia Villar has come forward to oppose the reclamation of 26,000 hectares of Manila Bay as proposed by PRA and called on the big businesses to reconsider their action given the adverse effects the reclamation would bring to the communities like floods and the livelihood of more than 300,000 fishermen as well as ecology. “Instead of reclaiming Manila Bay, we should all support its restoration and rehabilitation and avoid massive flooding, which experts say could go up to eight meters in Paranaque, Las Pinas and Cavite,” she added.
Paging President Rodrigo Duterte. Let’s protect the environment and not destroy it for the present and the future Filipinos. To businessmen, moderate your greed.