Villar to appeal SC OK on reclamation of Las Piñas-Parañaque part of Manila Bay

Published October 24, 2021, 11:12 AM

by Hannah Torregoza 

Senator Cynthia Villar on Sunday said she will file a motion for reconsideration asking the Supreme Court to reconsider its decision to approve the reclamation project of around 530 hectares of the Manila Bay coastline along Las Piñas and Parañaque.

Villar said she will appeal for the SC magistrates to revisit its ruling favoring AllTech Contractors which proposed to develop hectares of land in Las Piñas and Paranaque along the coastline of Manila Bay, which has been given up and declared illegal.

“This and the declaration by Congress of the existence of a Climate Crisis, and the two reports of the Nobel-Laureate group Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, have long since rendered any decisions of the DENR (Department of Environment and Natural Resources) made in 2012 irrelevant,” Villar stressed.

With due respect, the Senate Committee on Environment and Natural Resources head, said the SC can also take judicial notice of the Expanded National Integrated Protected Areas System (E NIPAS) Act or RA 11038 which was passed in 2018.

“This legislated the now renamed Las Piñas Parañaque Wetland Park, formerly LPPCHEA, into a protected area…The legislated protected area, Las Piñas-Parañaque Wetland is entitled to a buffer zone in Manila Bay which cannot be reclaimed,” the lawmaker said. adding that this was included in the Ramsar Convention list of Wetlands of International Importance in 2013.

The senator added the DENR is also determining the extent of the buffer zone needed for the conservation of the protected wetland park.

“The DENR’s procedures on EIA should take into consideration all these 94 newly established Protected Areas (PAs),” said Villar, chairperson of the Senate Environmental committee.

“We have long imagined that the ecological services like the flood drainage mechanisms and the filtering capacity of the soil will be there forever. But without proper care, and paying the costs of that care, these services will dissipate. The EIA system must account for this degeneration,” she added.

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Villar, along with other residents in Las Piñas and Parañaque, had petitioned the SC to stop the project as it would make their communities prone to massive flooding.

They said that any reclamation project in the areas would block the flow of the six rivers exiting in Manila Bay, namely, the Imus River, in Imus City, Bacoor River and Molino River in Bacoor City, Zapote River between Bacoor and Las Piñas cities, Las Piñas River in Las Piñas City and Parañaque River in Parañaque City.

Villar also pointed out that the DENR’s decision to allow the reclamation has long since been overtaken by multiple studies, many scientific and valuation findings, most of which were not in the case file.

“Worse, any environmental decision taken in an application for an Environmental Compliance Certificate (ECC) only has a five-year validity, considering the changes in the surrounding environment and new scientific findings that may happen,” the senator explained.

She also said that despite the SC’s decision, the ECC of Alltech has long since expired and their failure to start up the project was not caused by this case.

 
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