Press Release
June 23, 2020

Villar to DENR: Bacoor reclamation project threatens protected area, undermines Manila Bay rehabilitation project and will worsen flooding

Sen. Cynthia Villar today asked the Department of Environment and Natural Resources to recall the issuance of the environment compliance certificate (ECC) to the 320-hectare Bacoor reclamation project initiated by Bacoor City government together with the owner of Erabelle Fishing Corporation as it threatens to result in a host of serious problems among them the destruction of legislated protected area and massive flooding in communities surrounding Manila Bay.

"The reclamation project will potentially cause irreparable damage to the Las Pinas-Paranaque Wetland Park. The project will be building on the buffer zone of this protected area and will destroy the landscape in which the wetland now thrives," Villar said.

Under Republic Act 11038 or the Expanded National Integrated Protected Areas System Act or E-NIPAS Act, the 175-hectare Las Pinas-Paranaque Wetland Park is a declared protected area. It is also one of the seven areas in the Philippines listed as a Wetland of International Importance by the Ramsar Convention because of its critical role in the survival of threatened, restricted-range and congregatory bird species.

Villar also stressed the stand of the Department of Public Works and Highways stating that reclamation in this part of Manila Bay will cause flooding as high as 8 meters in Las Pinas City.

The lady senator said she is concerned that P1.47 billion worth of flood-control projects in Bacoor and Imus will be wasted if the Bacoor reclamation project will be pursued and flooding will be aggravated.

Flooding was one of the grounds cited by Villar along with 315,000 residents of Las Pinas, Paranaque and Cavite, when they petitioned for Writ of Kalikasan against the planned reclamation of Manila Bay in 2012.

In 2017, DENR cancelled the ECC issued to Alltech Contractors, Inc. for the Paranaque-Las Pinas Coastal Bay Project Land Reclamation due to its potential to harm the environment.

Villar, chairperson of the Committee on Environment and Natural Resources, said the Bacoor reclamation project contradicts the P1.3 billion Manila Bay Rehabilitation project implemented to clean up, rehabilitate and preserve the coastal and marine ecosystem of the bay.

"If we allow reclamation to proceed in Manila Bay, what happens now to our rehabilitation efforts? Our government has already poured precious resources into this campaign and many have already sacrificed to comply. Are we now losing the battle for Manila Bay?," Villar said.

On January 27, 2019, the "Battle for Manila Bay" was launched to reinforce the Supreme Court continuing mandamus issued on December 2008, which directs 13 agencies and private entities to clean up, rehabilitate, preserve, restore, and maintain the waters of Manila Bay to a level that is fit for swimming, skin-diving, and other forms of contact-recreation.

Also on the basis of the continuing mandamus, President Rodrigo Duterte signed Administrative Order No. 16 creating the Manila Bay Task Force on February 19, 2019.

DENR through the Environmental Management Bureau, has issued an ECC to the Bacoor Reclamation and Development Project located along the coast of Manila Bay in the waters of Bacoor City.

ECC-CO-1909-0023 was signed by Engr. William Cunado, OIC-Director, on March 5, 2020. With this ECC, the proponents are now given the go-signal to start dredging activity, filling the project area with reclamation materials and construction of road networks and drainage system.

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