Palace: Transfer of reclamation body meant for streamlining agencies
The Philippine government earlier confirmed that there would be reclamation projects along Manila Bay following the launch of its rehabilitation program.
The STAR/Walter Bollozos

Palace: Transfer of reclamation body meant for streamlining agencies

(Philstar.com) - February 4, 2019 - 4:25pm

MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte might have transferred the authority of approving reclamation projects under his direct supervision for more effectivity, presidential spokesperson Salvador Panelo said.

The president has signed an executive order removing the power to approve reclamation projects from the National Economic Development Authority and delegated it to the Philippine Reclamation Authority.

Executive Order 74, signed February 1, also placed the PRA under the Office of the President.

"That's the discretion of the president. He has control over executive departments and offices. Perhaps the reason is to streamline the services of agencies," Panelo told reporters.

Asked if the latest directive was connected to the planned reclamation projects in Manila Bay, the Malacañang mouthpiece said, "not necessarily."

"Si presidente naman gusto niya palaging compliant with the law. Ayaw niya ng brasuhan, ayaw niya ng palakasan, palaging kung ano ang batas sundin lang natin," Panelo said.

Placing the PRA under the Office of the President would mean that Duterte would be "hands-on" on the matter.

Panelo, however, hinted of the possibility that some of the incoming reclamation projects in Manila Bay would be covered by the new EO.

Section 9 of EO 74 indicated that it would apply to "all reclamation projects, including those initiated by LGUs and all other agencies, government-owned or -controlled corporations or any government entity allowed under existing laws to reclaim land, for which there are no contract agreements yet executed between the government entity concerned and a private sector proponent prior to the effectivity of this Order."

The presidential spokesman noted that there are only memorandum of understandings on projects in Manila Bay, which would not yet be considered as contracts.

"Memorandum of understanding pa lang. When you say agreement, may prima na 'yan pero kung memorandum of understanding wala pa 'yan," he said.

The Department of Environment and Natural Resources kicked off the rehabilitation of Manila Bay late last month after being tasked by the Supreme Court to do so.

The government later on admitted that there will be reclamation projects in Manila Bay, which Malacañang considered as a "positive development." — Patricia Lourdes Viray

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