NGO supports the rejection of Manilla Bay reclamation project
A nonprofit ocean conservation organization expressed support on President Rodrigo Duterte’s decision to not allow the reclamation project that will affect Manila Bay as part of a proposed international airport.
“We take it as a presidential signal to stop the construction of the proposed international airport, a reclamation project in Bulacan, which is part of the Manila Bay. The project will inflict huge damage in the fisheries, marine environment and livelihoods not just in Bulacan, but also in Pampanga and parts of Metro Manila,” Oceana Vice President Gloria Estenzo Ramos said.
According to a report from ABSCBN, the president said this project will not happen in his time “as long as there is no guarantee that the environment will be protected and the health of the people also safeguarded.” Almost 10,000 hectares of the Manila Bay, from Navotas City to Cavite are supposed to undergo reclamation under 25 projects.
“Science experts have raised concerns on the reported international airport project in Bulacan as it will destroy the mangroves and wetlands that are breeding grounds of fish and habitat of larvae of fishes and other seafood that thousands of fisherfolk and coastal communities depend on for their livelihood,” Ramos added.
The government’s own study from the National Fisheries and Research Development Institute (NFRDI) shows that Manila Bay is a premier fishing ground for sardines, mackerel, mullet (banak), threadfin, bream (bisugo), squid (posit), blue crab, round scad (galunggong), and fusilier (dalagang bukid).
“Many are concerned about the reported groundbreaking for the proposed international airport in Bulacan. Improving and increasing the area of protected habitats (intertidal mudflats, mangroves, coral) is even part of the National Economic and Development Authority’s (NEDA) Manila Bay Sustainable Development Master Plan. If we are to walk the talk in protecting Manila Bay and restore the marine life there, the government has to stop the planned reclamation projects in Bulacan and other areas targeted for reclamation under the National Reclamation Plan,” said Ramos.