Press Release
October 19, 2016

Compromise agreement on Manila Bay reclamation project alarms Villar

Sen. Cynthia Villar expressed alarm over the reported compromise agreement between Cyberbay Corporation and the government on a reclamation project involving a protected area along Manila Bay.

In a newspaper report, Cyberbay said its wholly-owned subsidiary, the Central Bay Reclamation and Development Corp., has entered into a compromise agreement with the Philippine Reclamation Authority (PRA) and the settlement includes the transfer of a portion of PRA's reclaimed land to Central Bay's "qualified assignee".

In a 2-page letter dated October 18, 2016 addressed to PRA General Manager Peter Anthony Abaya, Villar said she is "deeply alarmed with this development considering, among others, that the joint venture agreement between PRA and Cyberbay Corporation was already nullified by the Supreme Court, as the news article itself says, and that the transfer may have included and/or may adversely affect the survival of the Las Pinas-Paranaque Critical Habitat and Ecotourism Area (LPPCHEA).."

"How can you give away a protected area for a reclamation project? We are mandated by domestic laws as well as international convention to protect this critical habitat," Villar pointed out.

The chairperson of the Senate Committee on Environment and Natural Resources also asked Abaya to furnish her a copy of the compromise agreement PRA entered into with Cyberbay Corporation and/or its subsidiary.

"As the transfer is clearly a matter of public interest, there is a need for the public to know the propriety and legal basis of the transfer of a government-owned property to a private entity in order to address apprehensions that the transfer is against public interest and grossly disadvantageous to the government," Villar further said in the letter.

LPPCHEA is a protected area by virtue of Presidential Proclamation No. 1412, series of 2007. It was recognized as a Wetland of International Importance by the Ramsar Convention.

Dubbed as Metro Manila's last coastal frontier, LPPCHEA shelters a 36-hectare mangrove forest, which is the thickest and most diverse mangrove forest along the Manila Bay area and serves as a significant spawning ground, nursery, feeding and temporary shelter of different fish species and other forms of wildlife, as well as protects the communities of Las Pinas and Paranaque cities against storm surges and high tides.

LPPCHEA likewise plays a critical role for the survival of threatened, restricted-range and vulnerable bird species.

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