ATM calls for halt to Manila Bay reclamation projects
ATM Press Release | August 7, 2023
Recent reports concerning the involvement of a Chinese company blacklisted by the United States as well as the links of Senator Sherwin Gatchalian in a Manila Bay reclamation project should be “major cause of alarm that should prompt the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) to immediately halt reclamation operations while conducting a thorough review of ALL Manila Bay reclamation projects”, said Alyansa Tigil Mina (ATM) on Monday.
Jaybee Garganera, ATM National Coordinator, said the “DENR should treat the recent reports as serious alarm signals and immediately suspend current operations while conducting an impact assessment of all Manila Bay reclamation projects.” He added that the “DENR’s review process should be enhanced to ensure Civil Society Organizations (CSO) participation.”
According to news reports, the US embassy said that the China Communications Construction Co. (CCCC)—“has also been cited by the World Bank and the Asian Development Bank for engaging in fraudulent business practices.”
Also, the reclamation project involves the family of Senator Gatchalian, which is also involved in Altai Philippines Mining Corporation’s (APMC’S) operations in Sibuyan Island. APMC has been issued a Cease and Desist Order by the DENR for violations committed pertaining to its operations.
“Aside from determining the harm to the environment and communities of the reclamation projects, the DENR should also check whether there are improper practices involved in the operations of the companies involved,” Garganera said, as he emphasized the need for ALL reclamation projects to be reviewed and not just that of the Chinese company.
Garganera also called the DENR to conduct an “inclusive review of the reclamation projects by ensuring the participation of key stakeholders, such as the fisherfolks and environmental groups.”
DENR Secretary Toni Yulo-Loyzaga earlier admitted that “in the previous permitting processes, there was not much transparency nor was it consultative in terms of trying to include the many expertise we have.”