Manila Bay master plan needs reworking – environment group

Anna Gabriela A. Mogato
Manila Bay master plan needs reworking – environment group
If reclamation projects in the Manila Bay area will push through, Kalikasan PNE estimates that 11 million families will be affected, whether directly or indirectly

MANILA, Philippines – Environment group Kalikasan People’s Network for the Environment (PNE) is calling for a more inclusive master plan amid ongoing rehabilitation activities in Manila Bay.

Kalikasan PNE national coordinator Leon Dulce told Rappler on Friday, April 5, they are urging government to make the Manila Bay master plan more relevant to affected communties by addressing problems they face. (READ: Manila Bay rehab: The challenge of cleaning up the nation’s waste)

“What they are only talking about there are the cleanup of solid, liquid waste, relocation of the communities without sure relocation options,” Dulce said in a mix of English and Filipino, referring to the proposal of government to include livelihood packages.

Ang isang talagang hindi na-take into consideration ang perspective, ‘yung kalagayan, [at] aspirations ng communities na maapektuhan,” he added. (One thing that was not really taken into consideration was the perspective, the condition, [and] aspirations of the communities that will be affected.)

Dulce also questioned why the reclamation projects were not taken into account in the Manila Bay master plan, which he described as “insufficiently informed” because it did not have proper inputs from academe and affected residents.   

Kalikasan PNE estimates that reclamation will affect around of 11 million families, both directly and indirectly. Most of these would be fisherfolks, which Dulce affirmed, are the “poorest of the poor sa [in the] social strata of the Philippines.” 

Dulce said in a mix of English and Filipino, “They [government] always say in the master plan, ‘We are neither pro nor against reclamation.’ But it’s the situation analysis that can supposedly determine, scientifically speaking, which areas should be off-limits or allowable for reclamation.”

Environment Secretary Roy Cimatu told Rappler in a chance interview earlier last March that their decision to approve any reclamation project in Manila Bay will depend on “science-based” studies. 

Should reclamation push through, Dulce added that less than half of the area’s biodiversity will be preserved. (READ: LIST: At least 6 Manila Bay reclamation projects to start soon)

Dulce said that he hopes to slow down the process for government to “take into consideration the needs and rights of the communities” before October 2, when the details of the master plan will be finalized. 

“Because if the democratic needs of the majority are aligned with the economic development being aspired for, that’s sustainable development.” he added. –Rappler.com

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