‘Reclamation-free zone,’ not just ‘discipline zone’ for Manila Bay, DENR urged

Published September 15, 2020, 3:53 PM

by Raymund Antonio

A fishermen’s group on Tuesday rejected the proposal of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) to the Manila city government to declare the entire stretch of Manila baywalk a “discipline zone” to keep it clean.


The Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (PAMALAKAYA) said the DENR should instead revoke all the environmental compliance certificates (ECCs) issued to several reclamation projects as it called the agency’s proposal a “misplaced priority.”

“How about declaring the Manila Bay a reclamation-free zone to save it from further ecological destruction and revive its marine and fishery resources,” Pamalakaya chair Fernando Hicap suggested.

Hicap pointed out that Manila Bay is under serious threat because of massive reclamation projects that would cause water pollution and the destruction of mangrove forests and sea grasses.

The group was referring to 320-hectare reclamation in Bacoor City, Cavite, and the land development reclamation for the Bulacan airport project, both of which have been issued with ECCs.

DENR Undersecretary Benny Antiporda said the agency will request Manila Mayor Francisco “Isko Moreno” Domagoso to pass an ordinance declaring the baywalk a discipline zone.

Antiporda made the proposal following an recent incident along the area where he himself spotted a man defecating during an inspection of the white sand project.

The DENR heads the Manila Bay rehabilitation task force.

Hicap said the agency’s proposed discipline zone reeks of “poor-blaming while exonerating government agencies from
accountability” for its projects harmful to the environment.

“From dolomite white sand filling to a discipline zone, the DENR’s misplaced priorities and superficial solutions to the degrading Manila Bay are costing the Filipinos a fortune, instead of a community-based and science informed rehabilitation program that aims to restore the bay’s fishery resources,” he said.