MANILA, Philippines - State-run Philippine Reclamation Authority (PRA) is set to consider objections to the proposed 300-hectare reclamation project of the Pasay City government that is subject to a tug-of-war between SM Land and Ayala Land.
Joselito Gonzales, assistant general manager for reclamation of PRA, told The STAR that the agency would take into consideration the objections of several agencies including the Office of the Vice President and the Government Service Insurance System (GSIS).
Gonzales said the agency would adhere to Administrative Order 2007 – 2 or the implementing rules and regulations of Executive Order 543 delegating the power to approve reclamation projects to the PRA.
“We will take that into consideration just following our rules,” Gonzales said in a telephone interview.
He pointed out that the Pasay City government and its chosen partner would have to obtain “no object clearance” from agencies as well as other groups that would oppose the proposed reclamation project along Manila Bay.
As early as 2012, GSIS opposed the proposal of the Pasay City government to reclaim 60 hectares along Manila Bay where the headquarters of the pension fund manager is situated.
“In view of the foregoing, the GSIS opposed to the commencement and undertaking of the proposed reclamation and development project. The GSIS is of the firm position that the long-term ill effects, which the project will tow in its wake, greatly outweigh the projected benefits of the proposed projects,” GSIS said in a position paper submitted to the Pasay City government.
The pension fund manager said GSIS is an instrumentality for the promotion of social justice being tasked to administer pieces of social legislation.
“This will cause far-reaching environmental implications, which may cause staggering and unforeseeable changes in the ecosystem of the nearby coastal environs, affect the water quality and deplete the already weak marine life of the Manila Bay,” GSIS said.
On the other hand, the Office of the Vice President through a position paper submitted in May last year said a more comprehensive impact assessment of the project should be undertaken as proposed by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR).
“We were informed by our security group that the proposed reclamation and subsequent buildings thereon in proximity with the Coconut Palace poses security threats,” the Office of the Vice President said in a position paper.
Likewise, the office added that Coconut Palace is one of the crown jewels of Pasay City since it was designed and built by architect Francisco Manoza commissioned by then first lady Imelda Marcos in 1978 during the visit of the late Pope John Paul II in 1981.
“It prides itself with the panoramic vice of the Manila Bay,” it added.
Gonzales said all reclamation project proposals should undergo a five-stage approval process including securing an environmental compliance certificate (ECC), submission of flooding and drainage studies, public consultations by the proponents, detailed engineering designs as well as geo-hazard assessment and financial feasibility studies.