Press Release
March 3, 2014

Redirect PRA mandate from reclamation to re-development, Villar says

Sen. Cynthia Villar today proposed to redirect the mandate of the Philippine Reclamation Authority (PRA) to the development of inland areas and existing reclamation projects instead of proposing more reclamation projects.

Villar, chairperson of the Senate Committee on Government Corporations and Public Enterprises, stressed that reclamation should be a last resort and should only be done according to public interest.

"Dapat rebyuhin ang pangalan nila na Philipine Reclamation Authority, kasi parang ang naging mandate nila ang gumawa ng reclamation. Before it was PEA, Public Estate Authority, to maximize potentials of reclaimed areas. Ang hindi ko maintindihan, bakit ginawang reclamation authority. Ngayon ang nagiging idea, magre-reclaim nang magre-reclaim even if it's not according to public interest," Villar said.

During the second hearing of the committee on the resolution seeking a review of the powers and responsibilities of PRA, Villar said inland development should be favored more than reclamation to avoid environmental damage.

"In other countries, like Hong Kong, ang reclamation talagang pinag-iisipan nila, unless there is no other recourse, they resort to reclamation. Ang primary interest is public interest, not to make money, not any economic interest," Villar said.

"Dapat maghinay-hinay sa reclamation. Before, climate change, storm surges, and rising sea levels were not among the considerations. Ngayon meron na niyan," she added.

During the hearing, Villar told PRA officials not to encourage local government units to favor reclamation.

The hearing was attended by PRA Chairman Roberto Muldong, PRA Board Member Atty. Reynaldo Robles, Gen. Manager and CEO Peter Anthony Abaya, and Asst. Gen. Manager for Reclamation Atty. Joselito Gonzales. Villar said PRA's National Reclamation Plan, consisting of 26,000 hectares in Manila Bay alone, lures local officials to support reclamation projects in their areas for profit.

"Ang problema ng LGU, they are not equipped to study because they don't have competent and technical persons to study reclamation. They depend on proponent-sponsored study, which is not independent and does not provide them the real effects of reclamation to the environment and to the livelihood of the people," Villar said.

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