Duterte in no mood to rush reclamation projects

By Genalyn Kabiling

“Nothing is moving” in the proposed reclamation projects in the country, President Duterte said last Tuesday amid the government’s moves to streamline the approval process.

President Rodrigo Duterte (JANSEN ROMERO / MANILA BULLETIN)
President Rodrigo Duterte (JANSEN ROMERO / MANILA BULLETIN)

The President explained that the Philippine Reclamation Authority (PRA) has recently been placed under the control of his office after learning that some entities were fighting over reclamation projects.

“‘Yang reclamation, tinanggal ko. But nothing is moving. But I will restore it after talking to some guys,” the President said during the oath-taking of newly elected government officials in Malacañang last Tuesday.

‘Yang Reclamation Authority, kasi nag-aagawan na at kanya-kanyang laro na. P***** i**. Kaya nandiyan. Sabi ko, ‘tumabi kayo diyan lahat’. Wala ‘yan. Wala tayong ano ngayon [The Reclamation Authority, because they are already scrambling and making moves to grab the deals. Son of a b*tch. So I said, clear the way. None of that will prosper. We don’t have reclamation for now],” he said.

In February, Duterte issued Executive Order No. 74 placing the Philippine Reclamation Authority (PRA) under the control and supervision of the OP. The power of the President to approve all reclamation projects, on the other hand, has been delegated to the PRA Governing Board.

“There is a need to rationalize the approval process for reclamation projects towards an economically and environmentally sustainable resource development,” the order read.

The President, in his speech last Tuesday, also argued that there was no need to rush the reclamation projects, citing that Congress has the option to amend and improve the approval procedures.

“Bakit tayo magmamadali? Eh ano na lang gawain ng sunod na Congress? Para may trabaho pa sila [Why are we rushing the projects? What else would the next Congress do? Leave some work for them] You can revise, alter, amend, modify, or do away altogether with the present procedure,” he said.