September 9, 2012
by Marvyn N. Benaning
A LEGISLATOR, the fishermen’s alliance Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (Pamalakaya) and 11 other groups have tagged the P14-billion reclamation project on Manila Bay a huge scam.
Party-list Rep. Teodoro Casiño of Bayan Muna and his allies have asked the Supreme Court (SC) to allow them to intervene in the case filed by former Las Piñas Rep. Cynthia Villar to stop the implementation of the project.
Apart from Casiño and Pamalakaya, the other petitioners-intervenors include Party-list Rep. Rafael Mariano of Anakpawis, the Koalisyon Kontra Kumbersyon ng Manila Bay (KKK-Manila Bay), the Bacoor-based Alyansa fisherfolk group, Pamalakaya-Bulacan chapter, the Sagip Manila Bay Movement (SMBM), the Save Freedom Island Movement (SFIM), the Center for Environmental Concerns (CEC-Philippines), the Kalikasan-People’s Network for the Environment, Earth Island Philippines and the Alliance for Stewardship and Authentic Progress (Asap).
The P14-billion Las Piñas-Parañaque reclamation project, involving 203.43 hectares of the Parañaque coast and 431.71 hectares of Las Piñas territory, is major threat to the livelihood of small fisherfolk who subsist by fishing in Manila Bay.
What has earned the ire of Casiño and the other petitioners were media reports that the main project implementor, All-Tech Contractors Inc., is not registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission and has never submitted any financial statement to the SEC.
The main proponent of the project is the Philippine Reclamation Authority (PRA) headed by Peter Anthony Abaya of Cavite.
Casiño and Pamalakaya expressed surprise why the PRA and the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) were doing business with All-Tech in spite of the fact that it is not registered with the SEC.
“The Filipino public is hereby informed that the P14-billion land reclamation project in Las Piñas and Parañaque is a grand scam, highly anomalous and certified illegal,” Pamalakaya National Chairman and Anakpawis Party-list group Vice Chairman Fernando Hicap.
The Pamalakaya leader added: “Imagine, a P14-billion reclamation project is awarded by the Philippine government to a company that does not exist physically and materially speaking. On the contrary, the company only exists in the minds of people with sinister, corrupt and evil agenda.”
Worse, the corporate address of All-Tech Contractors—1295 G. Araneta Avenue, Quezon City, next to Quezon Institute and Puregold Complex, turned out to be non-existent, and that two of the three listed All Tech Inc. telephone numbers have been disconected, with the third one connected to a residence.
Hicap said Congress should investigate this matter, that appears to be more than an occasion for graft.
Pamalakaya Vice Chairman Salvador France said President Aquino should immediately revoke the contract entered into by the national government through PRA with All Tech Contractors Inc. and should instruct the Department of Justice (DOJ) to investigate the involvement of PRA headed by Abaya and Secretary Ramon Paje of the DENR for awarding the contract to dubious developer and for giving a environmental compliance certificate to a reclamation company that is non-existent.
France said they furnished a copy of the 14-page petition filed before the SC on Thursday to All Tech Contractors Inc.
“We are sure, the High Tribunal will return the copy to us because the copy is sent to a fake address used by the company which was commissioned by PRA to develop the 635- hectare Las Piñas-Parañaque reclamation project,” France said.
“We strongly urge President Aquino to declare null and void the P14-billion contract his office sealed with All Tech Contractors Inc. The Office of the President and the PRA made a big mistake in dealing with and in granting their seals of approval to All Tech Contractors to undertake reclamation projects along Manila Bay,” said Pamalakaya.
(With Jonathan Mayuga)