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Groups file complaint against Manila Bay reclamation, dredging projects

Gaea Katreena Cabico – Philstar.com

May 6, 2024

MANILA, Philippines — Fishers and environmentalists on Monday filed a complaint against the Philippine Reclamation Authority (PRA) and the Department of Environment and Natural Resources over reclamation and dredging projects in Manila Bay.

“We bring to your attention the distress we are experiencing in the face of adverse changes in our environment and socioeconomic conditions resulting partly from the cumulative and long-term impacts of seabed quarrying and reclamation activities in Manila Bay,” activist groups Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipins (PAMALAKAYA) and Kalikasan People’s Network for the Environment (PNE) said in their administrative complaint.

“Although there are many factors at play, seabed quarrying, and reclamation activities significantly contribute to the degradation of Manila Bay,” PAMALAKAYA and Kalikasan PNE added.

They stressed that reclamation and dredging projects in Manila Bay have caused a significant decline in fish populations, depletion of marine resources, an increase in invasive marine species, and lead to coastal and land erosion. These projects also disrupt their livelihoods and displace communities.

PAMALAKAYA and Kalikasan PNE asked the PRA and DENR to provide detailed plans for the relocation of communities affected by reclamation and dredging activities, and technical evaluation and advisory opinions on the environmental impact of these projects.

They also requested copies of environmental compliance certificates (ECCs), area clearances, monitoring reports for all implemented and ongoing projects, and comprehensive environmental assessment.

The DENR is conducting a cumulative impact assessment of reclamation activities along Manila Bay.

This move follows President Ferdinand Marcos Jr.’s order to suspend reclamation projects pending a review of their environmental and social impacts, as well as compliance with regulations. However, the government has not yet released an official suspension order to the public.

PRA earlier said that three projects could resume this year once the suspension on reclamation activities is lifted. These include the 90-hectare Bacoor Inner Island Project, the 15-hectare Navotas Fish Port Complex, and the 650-hectare Navotas Coastal Bay Reclamation and Development Project.

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