Duterte opposes private-sector Manila Bay reclamation works

President Rodrigo Duterte previously said that he was inclined to not approve the "massive" reclamation projects for Manila Bay.
President Rodrigo Duterte previously said that he was inclined to not approve the "massive" reclamation projects for Manila Bay.PHOTO: AFP

MANILA • President Rodrigo Duterte has said he will not allow private sector-initiated "massive reclamation" projects in Manila Bay because they are environmentally destructive and will "choke" the capital.

Reclamation will be limited to government-related projects and those already approved by the Philippine Reclamation Authority, according to the transcript of Mr Duterte's speech last Saturday at the inauguration of the Sangley Airport project in Cavite City.

"Not during my time," Mr Duterte said.

"I will not allow massive reclamation for the private sector. Because if I... if you approve one, you approve all," he said.

"That's how it is. When you govern you try to be - at least you try very hard to be equal and fair. But if I do that, of which I am wont to do, I will choke Manila," he added.

The latest property boom in the Philippines has spawned a number of proposals from private developers to reclaim land along Manila Bay. There are 25 proposed projects to reclaim 10,000ha - from Navotas City, north of Manila, to Cavite, a province south of the capital, said the Manila Standard.

Mr Duterte has previously said he was inclined to oppose the "massive" reclamation projects.

"The entire Manila City would be environmentally at peril. So you should study it carefully," he said. "The next administration, whoever gets to be president of this country, study carefully.

"Because that Manila there, that is an old city and it will decay if you add so many things in front of Manila Bay," he said.

 

Last year, Mr Duterte ordered the transfer of power to approve reclamation projects from the National Economic Development Authority to the Philippine Reclamation Authority, which he then placed under the Office of the President.

BLOOMBERG, PHILIPPINE DAILY INQUIRER/ASIA NEWS NETWORK

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 17, 2020, with the headline 'Duterte opposes private-sector Manila Bay reclamation works'. Print Edition | Subscribe