The government is planning on rehabilitating the Manila Bay. Because of the fact that garbage, dirt, and people have occupied most of the Manila Bay, they made a decision to start the Manila Bay rehabilitation. However, eight party-list lawmakers, specifically Makabayan lawmakers, filed a resolution which recommended the government to postpone the Manila Bay rehabilitation program.
Who signed this specific resolution?
This resolution was specifically signed by a number of people, namely: Representative Ariel Casilao of Anakpawis, France Castro and Antonio Tinio of ACT or Alliance of Concerned Teachers, Sarah Jane Elago of Kabataan, Arlene Brosas and Emmie de Jesus of Gabriela, and Carlos Zarate of Bayan Muna.
The resolution mainly talked about the fact that this project can lead to the delay and suspension of other projects.
The rehabilitation program could be a prelude to 43 reclamation projects covering more than 32,000 hectares in the bay under the build, build, build program.”
Their aim is to tell the House to give the suggestion to the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) to comply with the following:
- To publicize the rehabilitation master plan;
- Postpone the Manila Bay rehabilitation program until a “comprehensive and holistic” study on its socioeconomic impact on marginalized sectors has been carried out in a diligent manner;
- To draft a “genuine and democratic program that will sincerely” rehabilitate the Manila Bay without infringing on the basic rights and livelihood of these sectors; and
- To hold public consultations among marginalized sectors to be affected by the rehabilitation.
In addition to that, the lawmakers said that out of the projects that might be tampered with is the Pasay Harbor City project which is 265 hectares. This project is a joint project involving Dennis Uy, Davao-based businessman and the contributors to the campaign of our Dear President Rodrigo Duterte.
Lawmakers involved made the argument that the Manila Bay rehabilitation program could actually retard forty (40) reclamation projects which could lead to the displacement of 250,000 informal settlers who currently reside along the waterways and the coastline of the bay.
In addition to that, the Makabayan party-list said that the Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (Pamalakaya-Pilipinas), which is a fisherfolk group, has been countering and is against these types of reclamation projects.
What does the Pamalakaya-Pilipinas want instead?
Fernando Hicap, fisherfolk group, Pamalakaya Pilipinas national chairperson, said that around 300,000 families would be relocating and will make settlers to far-flung settlement sites away from their source of livelihood and will force them to just go back to their previous communities. Instead, they really are looking to have the government commit to do the following genuinely to push the Manila Bay rehabilitation:
- To restore mangroves, coral reefs, and sea grasses;
- Declare Manila Bay as a “reclamation-free” zone;
- To shut down the Navotas Controlled Dump Facility in Barangay Tanza, Manila. In addition to that, to also halt different industrial and commercial establishments that release toxic waste materials which end up in the Manila Bay; and
- To conduct on-city and/or on-site relocation for informal settlers who will be affected when the Manila Bay rehabilitation occurs.
These lawmakers blamed Roy Cimatu, Environment Secretary because of “turning a blind eye to both the toxic and chemical wastes being discharged by the industrial and commercial structures on a regular basis.” Which, in turn, is polluting the Manila Bay.
The Manila Bay actually covers eight (8) provinces and 178 local government units (LGUs) in the three (3) regions of Central Luzon, Calabarzon, and the Metro Manila. According to some reports, the Manila Bay rehabilitation will have three (3) phases and it officially kicked off last 27th of January 2019 on Sunday.
The Manila Bay is one of the few destinations in the Philippines that are known to foreigners and travelers before. However, due to commercial, industrial, and improper use of it, pollution swallowed the bay whole and this is the main reason why the government is planning on the rehabilitation of the Manila Bay.
What do you think about the lawmakers’ plans on postponing or suspending the Manila Bay rehabilitation? Do you think that it’s for the greater good? Or would more problems be solved if they just push with the government’s plan of fixing it?