Why can’ t we learn! Why introduce another project that spells, Disaster, Chaos, Greed and Corruption.
The Proposed Manila Bay Reclamation is totally blind of the horrors that it will cause. We just saw how over 10,000 lives lost in a “Storm Surge”. If another “Yolanda” Storm hits Manila, then we will regret the fact that the Reclamation will end up to be known as “land of the dead”, “zombies” and a cemetery for hundreds of thousands.
In an article written by Vice-Chairman, Management Association of the Philippines, (MAP) & Dean, MFI Farm Business School, Dr. Jose Rene Gayo, a farmer, Economist, Educator and Pioneer of promoting rural farm school and Agri-entrepreneurs, has been, for the past years, advocating the protection of our coastal mangroves.
Dr. Gayo explained that this precious gift of nature is essential to the cycle of life since mangroves are where fishes spawned and a natural habitat for marine life.
In his column in the Business World “Greenbelts and Greenlanes”, Sept 18, 2012, after the Habagat aftermath, he warned about storm surge and the danger of deadly floods that may affect our coastal towns. In a way, Dr. Gayo made a prediction of the tragedy that happened in the Visayas area. He urged the government to protect our mangroves and greenbelt areas along the coast of Manila Bay and its shorelines, that stretches over 150 kilometers.
In another article, “Greening the Coastal Lines”, Aug 14, 2012, Dr. Rene Gayo promoted the protection of the Manila Bay coastline, to avoid death, damage and destruction to our Eco-System and the environment.
Instead of reclaiming land along coastlines, what has to be done is to create sustainable marine life and agro-forestry. This is the National Greening Program or another version of the evergreens, protecting mangroves and reforestation of our coastal towns, for the benefit of our farmers and fishermen. This will definitely be a concrete solution to reduction of poverty.
And now, adding insult to injury, the SM Group is happy and ecstatic that Ayala Land Inc. (ALI) has backed off from the bid and both councils from the neighboring cities of Pasay and Parañaque have endorsed their proposals for the P54.5-billion, 300 hectare reclamation Area Project.
Last Aug. 12, the Pasay City Council approved Resolution No. 3020, authorizing Mayor Antonino Calixto to accept the proposal while on Sept 26, the Parañaque Council approved Resolution No. 13-066 authorizing Mayor Olivarez to accept the bid to develop an additional 200 hectares of Manila Bay in the city and enter into a joint venture agreement. The Manila government previously got an offer; 148-hectare called the Solar City project, but got rejected by Manila Mayor Joseph Estrada.
In its September resolution, both the Parañaque and Pasay city councils said the reclamation “will certainly be beneficial to the city government and its people in terms of taxes and employment.”
Each city government would get a share of 630,000 square meters of land in the reclamation, through SM Land Inc., with 51 percent or 150 hectares of the project as “government share.”
Manila Gold Coast Development Corp. (MGCDC), owned by the family of businessman William Tieng said “a multi-use development project on a proposed reclamation site on Manila Bay is expected to provide up to 600,000 jobs that would help ease unemployment in the country, particularly in Metro Manila.
He added that 100,000 jobs would be generated during the construction phase of the project; 500,000 jobs once it becomes operational. The project would generate up to P17 billion in taxes every year on top of P10 billion in real estate taxes for the local government of Manila. He even claimed that Mayor Estrada approved the project, called Manila Solar City because it would be crucial to reversing the deterioration of the city.
Their statements sounds very impressive but just like the new issue that super typhoon “Yolanda” and other calamities was man-made, there are several reasons why the reclamation project should not be continued.
First. The Philippine Reclamation Authority (PRA) has raised its concern over the decision of the Pasay City government to go ahead with engaging the private sector in the planned 300 hectare reclamation project in Manila Bay as the former has yet to secure the go-ahead signal from the agency. The Pasay City project has not even reach the first state as no formal submission has been received by PRA to date.
If this is the case, why then is the Parañaque Council allowed to continue the project with the SM Group.
This is the same sentiment of Pamalakaya Vice-Chairperson Salvador France, one of the advocates against the reclamation as he contradicted the council’s position. Mr. France said “the widespread reclamations in Metro Manila must be halted, to stop the wholesale killing of people’s livelihood and the environment, prevent disasters and other man-made and natural calamities in the near future.”
“Imagine, it only took 15 days for the Councilors of Parañaque to study or consider the economic and environmental implications of a large-scale reclamation project. This is preposterous and something sinister appeared to have happened without the knowledge of affected citizens and the general public”, he added.
Second, there is a strong petition against the reclamation project. Former Las Piñas Rep and now Senator Cynthia Villar started the campaign last Sept 2012 to block the reclamation. Fisher folks, Environmentalist join her fight by petitioning the SC to allow them to participate.
Senator Villar, who’s very familiar with real estate, cited similar consequences to the Cavite Expressway or Cavite reclamation project.
“Two years after the completion of the solid-based road infrastructure done through massive reclamation of not less than 5,000 hectares of foreshore water along Bacoor Bay, a dramatic decline in fish capture and aquaculture production took place. Floods will be triggered specially our country is typhoon. The reclamation projects in Manila Bay alone will engage an across-the-bay reclamation project that would cover 26,234 hectares of coastal waters-which for movants are an open invitation to economic displacement and environmental catastrophe.”
Mrs. Villar is backed up by several movements including the Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (Pamalakaya), Anakpwais Party-list, Bayan Muna Party-list, Alyansa ng mga Magdaragat ng Bacoor, Cavite Inc (Alyansa),Koalisyon Kontra Kumbersyon ng Manila Bay (KKK-Manila Bay), Save Freedom Island Movement (SFIM), Sagip Manila Bay Movement (SMBM), Center for Environmental Concerns (CEC-Philippines), Kalikasan-People’s Network for the Environment, Pamalakaya-Bulacan, Alliance for Stewardship and Authentic Progress, Earth Island Philippines and S.O.S. Manila Bay: Save our Sunset! No to Reclamation and many more…
Last Oct 15, 2013 in a press statement, groups led by the Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (Pamalakaya), The National Strength of the Fishermen’s Movement of the Philippines) urged President Aquino and the Department of Environmental and Natural Resources to block the Parañaque Manila Bay reclamation proposal by SM Land Inc.
3. Financial Gain/Corruption.
In a simple point of view, generating jobs for the ordinary Juan is impressive, but short-termed for the construction workers and maybe longer for office and mall workers. The financial gain for the government is obviously long term and very lucrative. Unfortunately, it has been proven that the Filipino citizens will not gain much from such plan. The PDAF scandal, increasing poverty, the Government’s lack of support and poor handling to the recent calamities are more than enough proof.
Another factor is the contract price. SM boasts that the offer includes everything; e.g. taxes, permits… But based on simple math, the amount offered is next to ridiculous.
At 300 hectare x 10000 per square meter = 3M square meters
P54.5 billion / 3M sq. meters = P180,000 development cost / sq. meter.
If this is the basic price, how much would the cost be if the lots are sold or lease.
4. Ecological Impact
Ignorance? The Paranaque Council, in its resolution, had dismissed such fears as “imaginary.” The reclamation project will not be contiguous to any land and will have a 200-meter channel which is more than enough to accommodate rainwater brought about by a heavy downpour.” they said.
There are several studies that proved reclamation is damaging.
Singapore, which is known for reclaiming land because of its small area, made a three year annual survey. The results? Coastal deformation, due to land reclamation, was proven to caused water turbidity and sedimentation increase. There was a sharp decrease of macrobenthos number in the area.
Macrobenthos consists of the organisms that live at the bottom of a water column and are visible to the naked eye. They include polychaete worms, pelecypods, anthozoans, echinoderms, sponges, ascidians, crustaceans. In freshwater ecosystems, the benthic macroorganisms provide a good visual indicator of “water quality” which is necessary for marine life.
The Malabon, Navotas and Pampanga river opening is rich in marine life, and it will be highly affected once the macrobenthos organisms are decreased.
Our very own Kelvin Rodolfo, PH.D who is a Professor Emeritus at the Department of Earth and Environmental Scienecs, University of Illinois and Chicago mentioned why the reclamation is very dangerous, besides blocking the view of the Manila Bay Beautiful sunsets.
There are three geological reasons why this reclamation is a very bad idea that poses lethal risks to many people.
First, even without reclamation, continuing rapid and accelerating subsidence of the coastal lands bordering the bay is worsening both floods and high-tide invasions. The land is subsiding about 30 times faster, mainly from over-pumping of groundwater. Reclamation may well speed up the sinking of the land, from withdrawal of groundwater, or from the added weight of new buildings, or both.
Academician Fernando Siringan of UP Diliman’s Marine Science Institute and his colleagues have documented that Metro Manila’s coastal areas are sinking as fast as 9 centimeters (3 1/2 inches) every year.
Storm surges and waves
The second geologic threat to reclaimed areas is the combination of surges and storm waves driven against our coasts by passing typhoons. Powerful, but still poorly recognized and understood hazards, storm surges are increasing in strength and frequency as our climate changes.
The havoc that storm surges wreak is magnified by huge waves that ride atop the surge, battering the coast. He cited Pedring’s 2011 storm surge and gigantic waves pounding Roxas Boulevard into rubble and flooded the whole area including the U.S. Embassy.
Liquefaction during earthquakes
But by far the greatest hazard that threatens coastal areas, whether underlain by natural deposits like those of the Pasig River delta or artificial reclamations, is seismically induced liquefaction. This is true for California’s Bay area as well as Manila Bay.
All bayfill materials, natural or man-made, are masses made up of pieces of rock ranging in size from tiny particles of clay to large boulders. Spaces between the solid pieces are occupied by water. Under normal conditions, the solid particles are in contact, so that the lower ones bear the weight of other grains above them as well as any buildings on top of them.
Dr Rodolfo said “Today, it seems that science is again being blithely ignored by the financial interests and government authorities promoting the various reclamation projects. Will we never learn?”
5. Overall Effect
A video saying that “Typhoon Yolanda and the rest of the calamities” are man-made. It has definitely caught the attention of “weather experts” and the whole world. Many commented that if the claim is true, then it is the work of the “devil”.
But we don’t need scientific opinions or claims to prevent SM and the LGU’s to continue with the reclamation.
The earthquake that paralyzed Bohol; Yolanda pounding Tacloban and Leyte, all in the Visayas Region and the results are VERY CLEAR and REAL. Tampering with nature is bad.
International communities and other victims of calamities are dumbfounded or aghast once they see the videos/pictures of our country’s devastation. The situation is very bad.
As of now, SM Mall of Asia (MOA), the Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP) and other establishing standing over reclaimed land are still standing, but it is very clear that the results do not justify the means.
As a real estate practitioner, I strongly suggest to go up to the east, the Side of Binangonan Rizal which is on high ground. If the objective is to provide jobs, businesses and steady income to a good number of Filipinos, then do it the proper way. There are several infrastructures that could be developed with P54 billion. Revitalized Manila, Caloocan or Novaliches. Develop or increase the mass transport system (LRT/MRT), finalize the urban housing projects and more.
Dr. Rene N. Rollon, PhD, Professor and Director of the Institute of Environmental Science & MeteorologyCollege of Science, University of the Philippines is asking the Filipino Citizens around the world to help stop the reclamation.
“I strongly think that we should go beyond fighting against each of the potentially 100 or so reclamation projects. If we could attack the top-level policy makers (e.g., Republic Act?), getting a ‘blanket” protection for the entire Manila Bay, … perhaps in the context of socio-cultural, historical, aesthetic (sunset view, etc.?), and ecological heritage, … that would be best. In this context, reclamation projects as put forward by the PRA should be clearly incompatible!”
There will be public hearing on Nov. 18, 9:00 am, at Delpan Sports Complex, Delpan cor. C.M. Recto, Binondo, Manila and everybody is invited/urged to join.
1. Please submit your respective groups’ position papers on or before Friday, November 15, 2013, to:
EIA DIVISION – Environmental Management Bureau (DMB)
Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR)
Visayas Avenue, Quezon City
Please copy us with your position papers so what we have a file of all position papers submitted.
2. The public hearing on the Manila Goldcoast Reclamation project will be held on:
Date/Time : Monday, November 18, 2013, 9:00 am
Venue : Delpan Sports Complex, Delpan cor. C.M. Recto, Binondo, Manila
We enjoin all of you to attend this public hearing. If you plan to attend, you will need to register yourselves thru the email address: email@example.com or by calling Reggie or Carl of EIA-EMB at 920-2240 or 920-2241.
3. We need to know if we can include the name of your organization on the ad that we will come out with sometime next week. So please let us know.
Asst. to Ms. Doris Ho
Reclaiming land is not the solution. Greediness is a deadly sin. Destroying the ecological system is synonymous to murder.
Please read my previous write-up last March 12, 2013 “RESETTLEMENT OF URBAN POOR AND OPPOSITION OF MANILA BAY RECLAMATION PROJECT“.
Picture of map Pasay and Paranaque
picture of Rene Rollon on youtube