DENR set to review reclamation projects nationwide

Iya Gozum

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DENR set to review reclamation projects nationwide

PROTEST. Fisherfolk from Cavite, Las Piñas, Parañaque, Navotas and Bulacan stage a fluvial protest at the site of a reclamation project in Pasay City on February 28, 2023.


‘Everything that comes down to us from the Philippine Reclamation Authority would be the subject of the review,’ says Loyzaga on the scope of the review

MANILA, Philippines – Environment Secretary Toni Yulo-Loyzaga said on Wednesday, October 4, that the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) is set to review reclamation projects nationwide.

“It is our view that for the development of a sound policy that is evidence-informed, this review of compliance will need to be nationwide,” said Loyzaga during the Senate hearing on the DENR’s 2024 proposed budget.

Loyzaga said that reclamation continues to be a “nationwide challenge.”

This comes more than three months after the DENR said it will be conducting a cumulative impact assessment of the reclamation projects in Manila Bay, which was then immediately followed by President Ferdinand Marcos Jr.’s verbal declaration that all projects in the bay are suspended.

The environment secretary has expressed many times in past press conferences and other fora that a cumulative assessment of all reclamation projects is lacking but sorely needed.

Aside from the cumulative assessment, the agency is also undertaking a review of the compliance of the projects with environmental regulations. (READ: Senate panel asks how reclamation projects get approved)

“Everything that comes down to us from the PRA [Philippine Reclamation Authority] would be the subject of the review,” added Loyzaga.

Senate Deputy Minority Leader Risa Hontiveros asked in the same hearing if the DENR is open to reviewing other projects that are outside of the PRA’s list.

“Absolutely,” the environment secretary said.

However, Loyzaga admitted that local reclamation projects remain a problem as reclamations that are part of local government projects usually do not undergo the process that the PRA has set.

Recently, the PRA said in another Senate hearing that there are many illegal and unauthorized projects. Some of these projects were led by local governments, which left the PRA with no other choice but to “regularize” the projects.

Regularization of reclamation projects means giving local governments time to submit the necessary requirements after reclamation was already undertaken.

Loyzaga has said before that the study of the impacts of reclamation projects in Manila Bay would take at least a year. At present, the suspension of Manila Bay reclamation projects has only Marcos’ declaration as basis. Environmental groups have been seeking an executive order to ensure that the suspension has teeth.

According to available data from the PRA, there are 187 approved and proposed reclamation projects nationwide.

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Iya Gozum

Iya Gozum covers the environment, agriculture, and science beats for Rappler.