AGHAM – Advocates of Science and Technology for the People joins the call of fisherfolk and environmental organizations to stop the ongoing reclamation and dump-and-fill projects in the country, especially Manila Bay.
AGHAM warns of grave ecological and economic consequences should reclamation, dump-and-fill, and other destructive activities such as dredging and seabed quarrying continue in Manila Bay and other parts of the country. These activities would lead to habitat destruction and marine biodiversity loss that would affect fisheries production, and subsequently lead to the loss of livelihood among fisherfolk and threaten our food security. Building infrastructure in reclaimed areas would also subject the Filipinos to different hazards such as storm surge, land subsidence, liquefaction, among others.
Currently, there are 50 reclamation projects at various stages of development in the country as of September 2022. Twenty-four among these reclamation projects have been approved, while the remaining 26 are still in the application stage. Based on the records of the Philippine Reclamation Authority (PRA), the estimated total area of reclamation projects in the entire country is at least 11,800 hectares.
“This number is still an underestimation as other coastal development projects that involve dumping and filling of soil into our coasts are not listed under the PRA,” said Jerwin Baure, public information officer and marine scientist of AGHAM. “One such example is the 2,500-hectare Bulacan Aerotropolis project of San Miguel Corporation, which has already destroyed mangrove forests and mudflats, and displaced fishing communities since 2020. Another proposed project of SMC that is not under the PRA is the Manila Bay Integrated Flood Control, Coastal Defense and Expressway, which will also affect mangrove ecosystems in Bataan, Pampanga and Bulacan. This project is especially alarming as it is proposed to be located near a Ramsar site in Sasmuan, Pampanga. The negative impacts of reclamation and other destructive projects far outweighs the promised economic development that these projects would bring,” added Baure.
“As we celebrate Earth Day today, we continue to remind the Marcos administration, and the DENR, that protecting the environment is first and foremost about protecting the people and securing their future. Climate crisis is happening right now, and the people are demanding the government to act fast. Time is ticking, and lives and livelihood are at stake. We demand the government to show its commitment in mitigating the impacts of the climate crisis through stopping ecologically destructive projects such as reclamation” ended Baure. ###