SMC project to displace coastal residents: Is Bulakan town mayor Meneses still playing for San Miguel?
Manila, Philippines – The Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (PAMALAKAYA) raised the question on whether Bulakan town Mayor Vergel Meneses is still “playing” for San Miguel Corporation (SMC) though its 2,500-hectare Aerotropolis project threaten to displace around 5,000 of his constituents residing in Brgy. Taliptip, the ground zero of the said project. Meneses is a former professional basketball player for Ginebra San Miguel team in the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) league until 2002. The Ginebra brand is majority-owned by SMC.
“While he enjoyed high popularity as a basketball player, it is apparent that it is indirectly proportional to his concern to his constituents in Brgy. Taliptip, which will be wiped out by the San Miguel project. Moreover, this would also affect the whole town, as it clearly a flood-prone area as declared by the Bulacan PDRRMO,” PAMALAKAYA National Chairperson and former Anakpawis Party-list Representative Fernando “Ka Pando” Hicap said in a press statement.
The Bulacan Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office included the Bulakan town as part of flood-prone area on their Hazard and Vulnerability Map. It is also vulnerable to storm surges and high tide and flood due to ponding. Moreover, its vulnerability to an intensity 8 earthquake, is classified as “very destructive to devastating groundshaking.” It has also high susceptibility to liquefaction or loss of strength of the soil.
“Kaya, tinataya ng mayor ang kapakanan ng mahigit 70,000 niyang constituents sa Aerotropolis project ng SMC? Kahit nga wala pa ito ay binaha na ang probinsya noong Agosto 2018 at Hulyo 2019, bunga ng mga bagyo at habagat kung saan palagiang nalalagay sa panganib ang mamamayan, bukod pa sa pagkasira ng kanilang mga ari-arian,” Hicap asked.
Hicap advised the Bulacan mayor to browse the 2008 Supreme Court mandamus to rehabilitate Manila Bay, where it stated that local government units should have already been cooperating with the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Reforms (BFAR) for fishery resources development. Moreover, the Operational Plan for the Manila Bay Coastal Strategy being carried out by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) already declared that reclamation is a major concern as it runs counter to the protection of the shoreline and conservation of biological resources.
“Sana ay pag-aralan niyang mabuti ang desisyon ng Supreme Court at Administrative Order 16 ng Pangulong Duterte, para hindi siya mabigla kung sakaling isama siya ng mga maapektuhang mamamayan ng buong probinsya o maging ng Metro Manila sa mga responsable sa paglabag rito. Pinakamainam ring pakinggan niya ang pagtutol ng mga taga-Brgy. Taliptip na directly affected,” the fisherfolk leader warned.
Finally, he urged the people of Bulakan to oppose the SMC project as it will totally transform and erase their town’s nationalist and historical legacy, when the second oldest church in the country, the church of Our Lady of the Assumption would be threatened by destructive flooding brought about by the project. It was the site where the Katipunero Gregorio Del Pilar distributed pamphlets written by his uncle Marcelo H. Del Pilar who was a member of the Propaganda Movement. ###