Press Release
August 9, 2023

Hontiveros urges gov't to reject China-funded reclamation projects in PH

Senator Risa Hontiveros on Wednesday urged government to reject all China-funded reclamation projects in the Philippines.

According to reports, two of the six initially approved reclamation projects in Manila Bay are executed by China Harbour Engineering Company Ltd., a subsidiary of China state-owned Communications Construction Co. or CCCC. However, President Ferdinand Marcos, Jr. has since suspended the operations of all but one reclamation project in Manila Bay due to management issues.

"I welcome the President's suspension, but government should not approve reclamation projects by China state-owned companies anymore. Certainly not now. CCCC, like its home country China, has committed many violations against the Philippines. From building artificial islands in the West Philippine Sea to now reclaiming land in Metro Manila, China is destroying Philippine territory left, right, and center. Nabawasan lalo ang respeto ko sa Tsina. Nanghihimasok na nga sa Pilipinas, sinisira pa ang ating likas-yaman," Hontiveros said.

In 2022, the senator filed Proposed Senate Resolution 300, directing the appropriate Senate committee to conduct an inquiry into the reported large-scale land reclamation projects being undertaken on a nationwide scale in the Philippines.

In the resolution, Hontiveros cited scientist Dr. Giovanni Tapang who said that the reclamation of more than 38,000 hectares, 26,232 hectares of which are along the coast of Manila Bay, covered by the National Reclamation Plan will translate to a loss of the same area of seagrass, the spawning ground, and habitat of aquatic life, leading to an annual loss of 4-7 billion invertebrates and 3-78 trillion fish.

"Kailangang maimbestigan ito sa Senado. Delikado ang mga reclamation areas. Matinding pagbaha ang pwedeng asahan dahil sa pagpapatuloy ng mga reclamation activities. Housing and commercial areas in planned reclamation projects will put people in harm's way. Food security will also be affected, especially since Manila Bay is an important fishing ground. Reclamation will destroy remaining marine habitats, like mangroves, seagrasses, and coral ecosystems," the senator said.

"These China-funded reclamation projects may cause irreversible damage to our cherished natural resources. Ang likas-yaman na nga lang ng Pilipinas ang napanghahawakang yaman ng mga Pilipino, kaya dapat matindi ang ginagawa nating pagdedepensa dito," the senator said.

Hontiveros also called on the ban of CCCC as a response to the repeated provocations of China in the West Philippine Sea, including the recent firing of a water cannon by the Chinese Coast Guard at the Philippine Coast Guard last Saturday, blocking the resupply mission to Ayungin Shoal.

After the indignation expressed by the Department of Foreign Affairs, the PCG, and the AFP against the use of water cannons, China, instead of issuing an apology, asserted her baseless claims and demanded that the Philippines remove BRP Sierra Madre from Ayungin Shoal.

"BRP Sierra Madre is a Philippine asset that we have all the right to maintain in Ayungin Shoal. We will never allow anyone to forcibly take that vessel out of our own waters. The sheer arrogance of China is what causes deep instability in the region," the senator said.

"Everything that comes out of China's mouth should be analyzed carefully by any nation worth their salt. It is so much lies and manipulation. How can we negotiate with Beijing when she acts in bad faith? This is why we must draw up other diplomatic and political ways to stand our ground, including stopping China-funded projects on our shores," Hontiveros concluded.

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