[Business Mirror] ‘Despite DENR ban, land reclamation goes on in Bacoor’

‘Despite DENR ban, land reclamation goes on in Bacoor’
By Jonathan L. Mayuga -October 23, 2019212

Photo shows a still “untouched” portion of a fishpond adjacent to a public cemetery in Bacoor in Manila Bay and another area already covered with backfilling materials. (PHOTO COURTESY OF PAMALAKAYA)

THE Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (Pamalakaya) on Tuesday expressed alarm over land-reclamation activities happening at a fishpond connected to Manila Bay.

The land-reclamation activity is adjacent to a public cemetery in Bacoor City, Pamalakaya said.

According to Pamalakaya, operators using heavy equipment are dumping filling materials in the area. No information is made available whether the ongoing dump-and-fill activity is for public works or a private construction activity, said Pamalakaya national chairman Fernando Hicap.

This came despite a recent policy pronouncement by officials of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) that no land reclamation will be allowed in Bacoor City.

“This was reported by our members as it appears dubious, there was no project details nor building permit number, and they operate during the night. It is akin to how China reclaimed parts of the West Philippine Sea, in secret and fast-paced,” Hicap said in a statement.

According to Hicap, the land reclamation in Bacoor is a cause for alarm given that the proposed 420-hectare Bacoor Reclamation Project was exposed at the Senate and no less than officials of the DENR committed to cancel the project.

“It is also detrimental to the Supreme Court mandamus to rehabilitate Manila Bay and the DENR’s program,” he insisted.

“The DENR is already in the hot seat because of the Manila Bay rehabilitation program and the recent fish kill. They are busy with clearing the waterways toward the bay, then we are seeing this, an opposite project, dumping of debris,” he said.

According to Hicap, a former Anakpawis Party-list representative, if the ongoing activity is a public works project, it lacked the required publication of project details as to what it is, when and where should it be finished, how much it is worth and who is the contractor, and prior consultation to directly affected sectors.

He asserted that even if it is a private activity, it should be required to secure an environmental compliance certificate (ECC) as DENR has declared Bacoor Bay as an environmentally critical area.

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