House Speaker Cayetano asked to probe the dangers, loopholes of Ramon Ang’s airport project
Manila, Philippines – A former House Member and currently head of the country’s biggest fisherfolk federation is asking House Speaker Allan Peter Cayetano to conduct a congressional inquiry into the reported environmental and socio-economic impacts, as well as the loopholes of the international airport of business tycoon Ramon Ang’s San Miguel Corp. (SMC).
The new manila international airport (NMIA), which will serve as a centerpiece of the Bulacan Aerotropolis, is a 2,500-hectare reclamation project to be constructed in the coastal town of Bulakan in Bulacan province. This is amid several studies of experts and even by the hazard and vulnerability maps of Bulacan Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office (PDRRMO) that the construction of the aerotropolis could worsen flooding not only in Bulakan town, but also to its adjacent towns in Bulacan province and in the northern part of Metro Manila.
Fernando Hicap, former Anakpawis Partylist solon and national chairperson of the group Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (PAMALAKAYA) said that on top of the environmental catastrophe that the aerotropolis could bring, more than 700 fishing and coastal families relying on Manila Bay will be effectively displaced if the project proceeds.
Hicap noted that Mr. Ang is selling an illusion that the aerotropolis project is a done deal, when only the “land development” project of its contractor, an enigmatic firm Silvertides Holdings had an environment compliance certificate (ECC), not the aerotropolis itself. Thus, Hicap said, Mr. Ang’s claim that the aerotropolis construction could start by the end of the year is “purely speculative and presumptuous”.
“SMC is clearly misleading the public like how they do in advertising, selling an illusion instead of the product. The project is actually dubious, no feasibility study being published, but all press releases and a video presentation of computer-aided designs, obviously to lure the public. This manipulation deserves a congressional investigation and see if it complied with the step-by-step process of application,” Hicap said in a statement issued on Tuesday.
“We demand House Speaker Cayetano to look into the loopholes of Mr. Ramon Ang’s international airport project in Manila Bay that would threaten its biodiversity and moreover, the socioeconomic rights of thousands of its coastal population, and also hundreds of thousands of Bulakenyos who are usual victims of flooding due to typhoons and monsoon rains. Aside from the flooding and displacement, the congressional probe should cover the lack of ECC of the project and how it was approved without undergoing through the proper process,” added Hicap.
The Philippine Reclamation Authority (PRA) has also denied that it has given a go signal to SMC, or even to its contractor Silvertides Holdings, to reclaim Manila Bay. ###