Philippines President Duterte rejects reclamation projects in Manila Bay

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

MANILA (BLOOMBERG, PHILIPPINE DAILY INQUIRER/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - President Rodrigo Duterte has said he will not allow private sector-initiated "massive reclamation" projects in Manila Bay, the harbour which serves the Philippine capital, 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 on Saturday (Feb 15) at the inauguration of the Sangley Airport project in Cavite City, south of Manila.

"Not during my time," Mr Duterte said. "I will not allow massive reclamation for the private sector. Because... if you approve one, you approve all," he said.

"That's how it is. When you govern... 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, the Manila Standard reports.

The President has previously said that he was inclined to not approve 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.

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