Bulacan airport can’t start in December due to lack of ECC – group
Manila, Philippines – Contrary to the public pronouncement that the construction of San Miguel Corp. (SMC)’s new international airport will commence this December after securing a contract from the Department of Transportation (DOTr), the national fishers group Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (PAMALAKAYA) said the SMC’s “much-awaited groundbreaking” is improbable, as the project, also known as the “Bulacan Aerotropolis”, has yet to secure the crucial environmental compliance certificate (ECC) from the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR).
The provincial chapter of PAMALAKAYA in Bulacan last week learned through their dialogue with the Environmental Management Bureau (Region 3) Director Lormelyn Claudio, that “there was no ECC issued yet for the SMC’s Bulacan airport” to be constructed in barangay Taliptip, Bulakan town. Rather, the ECC issued by the bureau is only for the 2,500-hectare “land development” project of a certain Silvertides Holdings.
To quote Director Claudio, “Ang mayroon lang pong ECC ay ang land development at wala pa po ‘yung airport,”.
“Why are the DOTr and SMC so excited to announce that the international airport is underway when the project has yet to secure an ECC, one of the most crucial documents needed before a project proceeds to the next stage. They’ve been already counting the chickens before they even hatch,” Fernando Hicap, PAMALAKAYA National Chairperson said in a statement.
(“Bakit sabik na sabik ang DOTr at ang SMC na ianunsyong magsisimula na ang konstruksyon ng airport samantalang wala pang ECC ang proyekto, isa sa mga pinakaimportanteng dokumentong kinakailangan bago upisahan ang isang proyekto. Nagbibilang na agad sila ng sisiw nang hindi pa napipisa ang mga itlog,”)
Hicap, a former Anakpawis Partylist solon, said the SMC has been using the deception and manipulation tactic to hasten what the fishers group has said, the “environmentally destructive and plunderous project.”
“Amid the public pronouncements on the status of the airport, SMC has failed to disclose to the public that its groundbreaking project has yet to acquire all the necessary prerequisites and permits. This is a clear manipulation and deception among the Filipinos, especially to the coastal residents and fishers in Bulacan who will stand affected if the project pushes through,” added Hicap.
The former solon and now fisherfolk leader said that more than 700 fishing and coastal families in the town of Bulakan will be displaced to pave way for the aerotropolis, while various species of mangroves will be destroyed and Manila Bay’s ecosystem will further deteriorate due to reclamation.
The fishers group also questioned the permanent acquisition of Silvertides Holdings to more than 2,000 hectares of fish ponds in barangay Taliptip, which the group said was a violation to the Article III, Section 45 of the Republic Act 8550, otherwise known as the “Philippine Fisheries Code of 1998”, which prevents the foreshore lands and ponds suitable for fishery operations, especially those covered by the fishpond lease agreement (FLA), to be disposed or alienated.
Moreover, the SMC airport project is undoubtedly a reclamation project that violates the Supreme Court mandamus to rehabilitate Manila Bay and restore the waters suitable for recreation and fishery resources.
“The Supreme Court mandamus clearly stated that fishery and aquatic resources are to be developed and marine life restored. Thus, DOTR’s action is direct contempt of this decision, moreover of President Duterte’s Administrative Order 16 and DENR’s Operational Plan for Manila Bay Coastal Strategy (OPMBCS),” he elaborated.
(“Ang linaw ng Supreme Court mandamus na dapat i-restore ang marine life at i-develop ang fishery at aquatic resources, kaya ang hakbang ng DOTR ay pagyurak dito, pati sa mismong Administrative Order 16 ng Pangulong Duterte, at OPMBCS,”)
He also cited that the 420-hectare Bacoor reclamation project in Cavite is being opposed by the DENR, as the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) earlier attested that it will cause massive flooding in Las Piñas City to as high as three storey.
“Kung ang Bacoor reclamation project nga ay tinututulan ng DENR dahil nga sa masamang epekto nito sa komunidad, mas lalo na ang Bulacan airport project na ito na 2,500-ektarya ang lawak. Apektado rito ang mamamayan ng buong Bulacan maging ng ilang bayan sa Metro Manila. Kaya, hindi lang ito isyu ng mga mangingisda sa bayan ng Bulakan, kundi ng lahat ng mamamayan. Dapat nating tutulan ang proyektong ito,” he ended. ###