January 31, 2012
Groups from various sectors launched a signature campaign last
Jan. 26 against the proposed Manila-Cavite Coastal Reclamation
and Rehabilitation Project, which involves the reclamation of
the 635.14-hectare land and water area that is the Las Piñas-Parañaque
Coastal Lagoon, also called Freedom Island.
The groups, collectively called “Save the Freedom Island
Movement,” aim to gather more than one million signatures
against the reclamation project.
Among the anti-reclamation groups are fisherfolk, environmentalists,
church people, vendors, neighborhood associations, child advocates
group, the Akap Bata Party-List, people’s organizations,
and government officials.
The movement said that the reclamation is the flagship project
of Parañaque and Las Piñas city governments, the
Philippine Reclamation Authority (PRA) and All-Tech Contractors,
Inc. under the government’s Public-Private Partnership
They also said that the project will construct an entertainment
center, ports, business parks, roads, real estate properties,
universities among others in the target reclamation area.
Save Freedom Island spokesperson Glacy Macabale said that the
project will affect the livelihood of almost 10,000 fishermen
and vendors in the area and involve the demolition of homes of
200 families in the Floating Village and 500 more families along
the esteros in Parañaque City alone.
“Aside from these possible impacts to the livelihood and
shelter of our poor countrymen, we are also worried about the
social and environmental implications once the reclamation project
is implemented,” Macabale added.
She noted, “Based on various studies, 8 barangays in Parañaque
and 14 in Las Piñas will experience worse flooding if
strong typhoons hit the country because these cities parallel
to the Freedom Island were considered lying in low grounds.”
The movement also said that the project will destroy the last
island, last bird sanctuary and last mangrove forest in Metro
However, Engr. Eduardo Destura, Department Manager for Planning
and Evaluation under PRA’s Reclamation and Regulation office,
told GMA News Online that the mangrove area and bird sanctuary
will not be destroyed.
“There are wrong interpretations, kaya nagkakaroon ng
issue. Under Proclamation 1412, Coastal Lagoon will remain intact.
175 hectares, including the lagoon, will remain untouched,” he
According to Proclamation 1412, “Any reclamation in the periphery
of the Las Piñas-Parañaque Critical Habitat and Ecotourism
Area shall not impede the ecological function of the lagoon and
its small Islands’ mangroves, salt marshes and tidal areas
as breeding, feeding and roosting place for marine and terrestrial
wildlife.” – AL/KG, GMA News