Pasay City local exec risks violating SC mandamus if SM reclamation pushes through
Manila, Philppines – The local government unit (LGU) of Pasay City violates the Supreme Court mandamus to “clean up, rehabilitate, and preserve Manila Bay, and restore and maintain its waters” for giving a notice to proceed to SM Prime Holdings to reclaim 360-hectare of its municipal waters in Manila Bay, adjacent to the SM Mall of Asia. Moreover, it would be against the related issuances such as President Rodrigo Duterte’s Administrative Order No. 16 expediting the rehabilitation of Manila Bay, and the Department of Environment and Natural Resources’ (DENR) Manila Bay Clean-up Program. These were according to the the national fisherfolk alliance Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (PAMALAKAYA).
“This project is not just violative of the Supreme Court mandamus, but detrimental to the Duterte government’s promise to rehabilitate Manila Bay. If this project pushes through, it means that all actions of the DENR, DILG and other concerned agencies early this year, were all just an act. This will be a black eye for the administration and an added reason for the people to detest the government,” Fernando Hicap, PAMALAKAYA National Chairperson said in a statement.
He added that this will also undermine the Manila Bay Clean-up Program being led by DENR Secretary Roy Cimatu. The program was based on the Operational Plan for the Manila Bay Coastal Strategy (OPMBCS) pursuant to the agency’s mandate, the 1987 Executive Order No. 192. The plan’s main goals included improvement of water quality and protection of shoreline features. He warned that the “Pasay chief executive should prepare its team for a ton of legal headache”.
Hicap, who is a former representative for Anakpawis Party-list, also shared that the proposal to make Manila Bay as a reclamation-free zone is already gaining ground in congress. In addition to the House Bill 257 filed by lawmakers under the Makabayan Coalition, House Deputy Speaker Rose Marie “Baby” J. Arenas also filed her House Bill 3169 entitled “An Act Declaring Manila Bay as Heritage Asset Free From Any and All Forms of Further Reclamation and Providing Penalties Therefore.” The bill seeks to declare Manila Bay, in its entirety, not only a national historical landmark but a heritage site that is protected and fully owned by the government “with management policies based on preservation of an ecosystem and rights-based, people-centered development framework.”