Fuming Cynthia Villar curses at DENR over reclamation projects

Xave Gregorio - Philstar.com

MANILA, Philippines — Sen. Cynthia Villar saw red over reclamation projects in Manila Bay that were given clearance by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources even as she said these would cause flooding in her home city of Las Piñas.

As the DENR confirmed Tuesday during a hearing on its proposed budget for 2023 that it has granted environmental compliance certificates to 21 reclamation projects in Manila Bay, Villar fumed and cursed at officials at least four times.

"Tangina mo. Ano ba 'yan? Ang kapal kapal ng mukha niyo. Alam niyo namang babaha kami ng katakot-takot ayaw niyo pang tigilan 'yan," Villar said.

(You're a son of a bitch. What's this? You have no shame. You know that we'll be severely flooded and yet you pushed through with these.)

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Villar went on a lengthy rant about how the reclamation projects would close off the flow of water from four rivers in Las Piñas and Cavite and would cause flooding.

"Ako sinabi ko sa inyo, huwag niyong pakikialaman yung aming daan doon. We have four rivers going out of that bay. Where will the river go– the water of the river go? Sinasabi ko na palagi sa inyo ‘yan, ayaw kayo tumigil. Hindi ako pumayag diyan," she said.

(I've told you, don’t meddle with our waterway there. We have four rivers going out of that bay. Where will the river go– the water of the river go? I always tell you that, but you didn't stop. I didn't agree to this.)

She also said that former Presidents Benigno Aquino III and Rodrigo Duterte were clueless about the reclamation projects the DENR greenlit. She added that she will speak to President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. about the reclamation projects.

Villar, a member of the Aguilar-Villar clan that has run Las Piñas for decades, went on to lament how she spent 10 years of her life cleaning up "her river."

"It took me 10 years to clean my river so there will be no flooding, tapos sasarhan niyo iyong daan ng river ko?" she said. "I cleaned 30 kilometers of river, ba’t hindi sasama loob ko?"

(It took me 10 years to clean my river so there will be no flooding, then you’ll just close my river’s way? I cleaned 30 kilometers of river, why won’t my feelings get hurt?)

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Environment Secretary Ma. Antonia Yulo-Loyzaga sought to assuage Villar's anger by saying that the present administration will review its reclamation policy.

"Under this present administration, we would be looking very carefully at the reclamation policy as a whole and we realize there is a need for some very strong science," Loyzaga said.

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