President Rodrigo Duterte smells something fishy about the rush to approve a “stupefying” amount of offers to reclaim Manila Bay.
Duterte was adamant that he has not approved any reclamation project and would probably not green light any project under his watch. “Alam mo there is quarreling, I don’t know what it’s something to do. I hope it’s not corruption because I will get rid of you immediately. Maraming gulo, eh. Some saying about corruption so I said, ‘Tanggalin ko muna sa inyo ‘yan. Dito muna sa opisina’,” said Duterte in an interview with ABS-CBN’s Ted Failon.
” The final say will be the Office of the President. Until now I have not signed anything that would seed a part of that area there, the body of water, to be converted into plot,” he added..
Duterte made the statement amid reports that his administration has received 25 offers to reclaim up to 10,000 hectares of Manila Bay from Navotas City to Cavite..
The Philippine Reclamation Authority, led by Aleberto Agra (chairman) and Janilo Rubiato (general manager), even announced that it has approved four projects: the Navotas City Coastal Bay Reclamation Project; the 360-hectare Pasay Reclamation Project; the 265-hectare Pasay Reclamation Project, and the 418-hectare Horizon Manila Reclamation Project.
But Duterte was unequivocal about his opposition to reclamation. “If it’s only kind of an investment to infuse more money into the Philippine economy, it seems to be okay. But the hugeness of the area that you are trying to reclaim, to me is almost mind-boggling. That entire, how many? Ten thousand hectares? It would be, surely, for habitation. There might be some offices or some residences there,” said Duterte.
“You have to make an audit now of whether or not the environment of the entire area there can absorb the waste and where would it go after being treated. Because now, you must have a water treatment.You can be very sure that habitation will follow. There has to be a concrete showing that environment is protected. Otherwise, I would say that I am not ready for that. I am not ready even to say I will grant it. Not in my time. As long as there is no guarantee that the environment will be protected and the health of the people also safeguarded,” he added.