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Groups protest proposed Manila-Cavite coastal reclamation project

January 31, 2012
10:22 am
GMA NEWS

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 scheme.

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 Manila.

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 said.

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