Duterte places reclamation body under Office of the President
Presidential spokesperson Salvador Panelo earlier admitted that some areas of Manila Bay would be reclaimed as the government launches its rehabilitation program.
The STAR/Edd Gumban, File

Duterte places reclamation body under Office of the President

(Philstar.com) - February 4, 2019 - 12:07pm

MANILA, Philippines — Amid impending reclamation projects in Manila Bay, President Rodrigo Duterte has signed an executive order transferring the power to approve reclamation projects to his office.

Under Executive Order 74, the Philippine Reclamation Authority will now be under the Office of the President.

The order also stripped the National Economic and Development Authority of the power to approve reclamation projects and delegates the authority to the PRA.

"The PRA shall be under the control and supervision of the OP, while the power of the President to approve all reclamation projects shall be delegated to the PRA Governing Board. Such delegation, however, shall not be construed as diminishing the President's authority to modify, amend or nullify the action of the PRA Governing Board," the order read.

Under EO 74, the PRA is mandated to seek the opinions of the NEDA, Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) and Department of Finance on any proposed reclamation project.

Cumulative impact of projects to be considered

Duterte's latest order stressed that the PRA should not approve any reclamation project without the required area clearance and environmental compliance certificate from the DENR.

The PRA was also directed to ensure that all reclamation projects undergo competitive public bidding to ensure transparency and competitiveness.

"All proposals for reclamation projects shall be evaluated by the PRA based on their cumulative impacts rather than on a specific project basis," the order read.

EO 74 covers all reclamation projects, including those initiated by local government units and other agencies, "for which there are no contracts/agreements yet executed between the government entity concerned and a private sector proponent."

The order, which was signed February 1, takes effect immediately.

The House of Representatives' Makabayan bloc has urged the government to postpone the rehabilitation of Manila Bay as it includes the resettlement of about 300,000 informal settlers.

Malacañang, however, insisted that the planned reclamation projects in the polluted Manila Bay would benefit more people. Presidential spokesperson Salvador Panelo said the government sees the reclamation projects as a positive development.

“With respect to reclamation, even the government will benefit from that 65-35 (split), we get 65, it’s big —  that will generate income for the government and will generate jobs —  because they will be establishing structures there,” Panelo said last week. — Patricia Lourdes Viray

As It Happens
LATEST UPDATE: June 7, 2021 - 2:18pm

The Department of Environment and Natural Resources orders the closure of Aristocrat restaurant in Roxas Boulevard for "generating and discharging pollutive wastewater" amid the government's move to rehabilitate Manila Bay.

The Manila Bay rehabilitation program involves cleanup activities, relocation of illegal settlers as well as apprehension of establishments that violate the Philippine Clean Water Act and other environmental laws. 

Last January 22, the Manila City government has ordered the temporary closure of Manila Zoo to allow the reconstruction of its sewer lines. The zoo is located near Estero de San Antonio Abad in Malate, Manila, which directly drains into the Manila Bay.

DENR ordered establishments around the bay to put up their own sewage treatment plants last January 11.

June 7, 2021 - 2:18pm

A fishers' group slams the Department of Environment and Natural Resources for issuing an environmental compliance certificate to a reclamation project in Bulacan.

The DENR has granted San Miguel Corp. a permit for its P700-billion aerotropolis project that would cover over 2,500 hectares of Manila Bay.

Pamalakaya says the aerotropolis project is "on the opposite track" of the Manila Bay rehabilitation program.

“Reclamation defeats the purpose of rehabilitation as it endangers vital marine resources that keep Manila Bay abundant and biodiverse," Pamalakaya chair Fernando Hicap says.

November 20, 2020 - 1:03pm

Akbayan is calling on the original parties in the 2008 environmental protection case over Manila Bay to join them in questioning the Department of the Environment and Natural Resources' dolomite beach project.

The party does this in a statement after the Supreme Court denied its motion to intervene in the case, adding the court "has taken, quite sadly, a hands-off approach on an issue of transcendental importance."

It adds: "Even the high tribunal's statement that it found no violation of its continuing Mandamus is discouraging. It limited its findings to the reports submitted by the DENR on its specific directive to clean the waters of the bay and perform maintenance measures." 

"It failed to include in its assessment the DENR's dumping of fake sand as a polluting act violative of its order."

October 30, 2020 - 1:18pm

Akbayan party-list will hold a "bicycle action" on November 3 "coinciding with the Supreme Court's en banc session to deliberate on the petition Akbayan filed on the dumping of dolomite sand along Manila Bay."

Bikers will meet at Plaza Salamanca in the morning and head to the Supreme Court gates in Padre Faura.

In its announcement, Akbayan says it is calling for the SC to "hold the Department of Environment and Natural Resources in contempt for dumping fake white sand in Manila Bay, which is in violation of the court's continuing Mandamus on the area, as well to save Manila Bay the right way." 

September 29, 2020 - 12:39pm

Opposition Sen. Leila de Lima slams the Department of Environment and Natural Resources for ordering the closure of two mining firms after acquiring dolomite from the two companies and dumping it on Manila Bay.

"Nakakatawa naman talaga ang DENR. Pagkatapos nilang isabog at ikalat ang dolomite sa dalampasigan ng Manila Bay, saka pa lang nila ngayon ipapa-imbestiga kung sanhi nga ba ng pagkamatay ng mga bahura ang natatapong dolomite ng dalawang minahan sa Alcoy, Cebu," De Lima says in a statement.

September 18, 2020 - 10:06am

The fish kill in the Baseco portion of the Manila Bay is an indication that it is degraded as it is, fisherfolk group Pamalakaya says.

"It‘s environmental degradation is supposed to be the main concern that the DENR should be seriously addressing, not busying itself with some kind of beach nourishment' that is actually ephemeral aesthetics, but irrelevant to rehabilitation," Pamalakaya says in a statement.

The group calls on the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources to conduct water sampling and laboratory analysis for possible water pollution. However, there is no established connection yet between the fish kill and the "white sand" project.

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