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Birdwatchers join calls vs. Manila Bay reclamation project - Philippine Star, September 13, 2012

Birdwatchers join calls vs Manila Bay reclamation project
By Sandy Araneta The Philippine Star Updated September 13, 2012

Former Las Piñas congresswoman Cynthia Villar,
accompanied by lawyer Frank Chavez, walks
away from
the Court of Appeals building after attending a hearing yesterday
on the petition for a write of kalikasan she filed to stop the
Manila Bay reclamation project. EDD GUMBAN

MANILA, Philippines - A birdwatchers’ group aired its opposition yesterday to a planned Manila Bay reclamation project, saying it would destroy a bird sanctuary along the coastline of Parañaque and Las Piñas.

The Wild Bird Club of the Philippines (WBCP) belied a claim by an airline official who said that a bird sanctuary near an airport increased the risk of bird strikes.

Transportation and environment officials are studying whether to lift the bird sanctuary status of a small mangrove forest beside the Coastal Road in Las Piñas.

The WBCP said there is not a shred of evidence to prove that the bird habitat is connected to any bird strikes in Metro Manila. They said neither airlines nor airport authorities have given the group information on the bird species involved in the bird strikes.

WBCP ornithologist Arne Jensen said there are more than 100,000 wetland birds in Manila Bay and each species requires a different strategy to curb bird strikes, which the Ninoy Aquino International Airport has yet to offer.

Meanwhile, former Las Piñas congresswoman Cynthia Villar – who filed a petition for a writ of kalikasan to stop the P14-billion project – said she fears that if the project pushes through, Las Piñas, Parañaque and Bacoor in Cavite would be flooded and “the bird sanctuary would be lost.”
She said the hearing has been reset to Oct. 10, 12, 17 and 19.

Her lawyer, Frank Chavez, questioned during the hearing how All Tech Contractors Inc., which reportedly has a capital of only P40 million, could finance the project.

Chavez also asked the CA to require All Tech and the Philippine Reclamation Authority to submit flood monitoring maps, baseline data and mitigating plan and other documents on flooding issues.