Boat parade across the boulevard to save the city
21 April 2013
In festive celebration of Earth Day, environmental advocates, fisherfolks, athletes and artists sailed across Manila Bay waters earlier today and called on the government to “save our cities and save our bay” from reclamation.
“Reclamation projects in the cities of Manila, Las Pinas and Paranaque are further threatening the ecosystem of our beloved Bay. Mangrove forests, fishing communities, historical sites, and even the globally renowned Manila sunset boulevard will be negatively affected by reclamation,” said Clemente Bautista, national coordinator of green activist group Kalikasan Peoples Network for the Environment (Kalikasan PNE), co-organizer of the boating event.
Members of the Philippine Kayak Association and local fishermen from Paranaque City sailed more than 30 marine vessels composed of kayaks, dragon boats and bancas from the Manila Yacht Club to the US Embassy. The symbolic and colorful boating activity was co-organized by the Cultural Center of the Philippines, Kalikasan PNE and other socio-civic groups opposing plans to further reclaim the coastal areas of Metro Manila.
Under the National Reclamation Plan (NRP), 26,234 hectares of foreshore areas in Manila Bay will be reclaimed and developed for commercial and leisure purposes. The target areas for reclamation along Manila Bay comprise 70 percent of the 38,000 hectares approved by the Philippine Reclamation Authority for the NRP.
Dr. Jojo Carabeo, spokeperson of the anti-reclamation alliance People’s Network for the Integrity of Coastal Habitat and Ecosystems (People’s NICHE), said that reclamation is a ‘double-edged’ environmental disaster.
“Reclamation will cause irreversible damage to marine and terrestrial ecosystems. Million metric tons of soil materials will be dumped in the sea, killing marine microorganisms and rendering the rehabilitation of Manila Bay impossible. To produce these dumping materials, mountains and hills in nearby provinces will be leveled down and destroyed,” explained Carabeo.
The proposed reclamation from Bataan to Cavite will also affect the Las Pinas-Paranaque Critical Habitat and Ecotourism Area (LPPCHEA), which was recently proclaimed as a RAMSAR site or an internationally protected wetland.
“Instead of reclamation, what we need is rehabilitation of our marine and coastal habitats so that we could preserve our remaining natural resources and increase the environmental services enjoyed by the people from these ecosystems,” said Carabeo.
People’s NICHE is campaigning for a moratorium on the implementation of the NRP pending a fully transparent, independent, scientific, and legal assessment of the ecological, health, and socio-economic impacts of reclamation projects in the country.###