Partylist: Probe Manila Reclamation Projects

MANILA, Philippines - Partylist Anakpawis on Monday sought an inquiry into the proposed reclamation projects in Manila to determine if they would deprive fisherfolk of livelihood opportunities and dislocate coastal residents.

Anakpawis Rep. Rafael Mariano claimed the proposed projects under the public-private partnership program of the Aquino administration could result in the displacement of thousands of people living in areas targeted for reclamation.

"These projects will only benefit the few and will be a disadvantage to the already disadvantaged small fisherfolk," Mariano claimed.

Aside from Mariano, Bayan Muna Rep. Teddy Casino expressed fears that the reclamation projects would compound the flooding woes of millions of residents of Metro Manila, Cavite, Bulacan, Bataan and Pampanga.

He noted that when the Ramos administration went on with big reclamation projects, thousands of fisherfolk and coastal residents were evicted.

A total of 3,500 small fisherfolk and their families in the Pasay Reclamation Area and another 3,000 coastal and urban poor families along the coastal areas of Paranaque City were dislocated, he said.

Mariano said the fishermen living along Manila Bay observed a sharp decline in their daily fish catch from a range of 15 kilos to 20 kilos a day to only between 3 kilos and 5 kilos a day.

The National Reclamation Plan (NRP) was presented to the Cabinet Economic Cluster Committee in June 2011, with the proponents, mainly from the Philippine Reclamation Authority (PRA), talked about projects viability.

These would serve as magnets for huge investments, they said.

Mariano said these projects are similar to those being done in Hong Kong, Japan and Singapore.

"Even the Pasay City government has submitted a proposal to the PRA for a 50-hectare reclamation project within its jurisdiction along the NRP Manila Bay sector and according to the same letter, the PRA is processing the application," Mariano stressed.

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