AGHAM – Advocates of Science and Technology for the People welcomes the decision of President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. to suspend all reclamation projects in Manila Bay, except for one [1]. We also welcome the resolution filed in the House of Representatives to probe the status of reclamation projects in the bay [2]. 

“We welcome the decision to suspend all reclamation projects in Manila Bay,” said Jerwin Baure, public information officer of AGHAM. “This victory was achieved through the collective action of various civil society organizations who have tirelessly campaigned against reclamation for years. We challenge the Marcos administration to release this policy of suspension and immediately implement it on the ground. The government should also be transparent as to which reclamation project was exempted from this suspension order. Marcos mentioned that this project already underwent review by the government, but the public still needs to know how the review was done. Additionally, some reclamation projects like the New Manila International Airport are not listed under the Philippine Reclamation Authority, so its possible inclusion in the list of suspended reclamation projects should be clarified.”

Since the Duterte administration, various fisherfolk, scientist and environmental organizations have voiced out their concerns regarding the environmental and social impacts of reclamation and associated dredging projects not only in Manila Bay but also in the entire country. “The public needs to be informed regarding the status of Manila Bay,” continued Baure. “The Department of Environment and Natural Resources should release a comprehensive and transparent report on the status of coastal ecosystems affected by reclamation projects. For example, the DENR must report how much of the coastline was altered, and how many hectares of mangroves were destroyed. In the past, we’ve noted mangrove cover loss in Bulacan where San Miguel Corporation is currently constructing the New Manila International Airport. DENR must also report the status of the seabed in Cavite where sand used as filling material for reclamation projects were excavated.”

Together with other members of the People’s Network for the Integrity of Coastal Habitats and Ecosystems (People’s NICHE), AGHAM continues to call for a moratorium on all destructive reclamation projects in the country. “This suspension order is just one step towards putting a stop to all destructive reclamation projects in the country. Moving forward, we urge the government to include civil society organizations and representatives from communities affected by reclamation as participants in all phases of the project, such as being invited to the hearing that will be conducted by the Senate and House of Representatives to provide important insights on the environmental and social impacts of reclamation. We hope that this hearing would also lead to the review of existing processes under the Philippine Environmental Impact Statement System law which allowed such destructive projects,” ended Baure. ###





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