SC junks writ of kalikasan petition vs SMC's Bulacan airport project

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jan 05 2021 06:28 PM

 

SC junks writ of kalikasan petition vs SMC's Bulacan airport project 1
Exterior design studies for SMC's proposed New Manila International Airport project in Bulakan, Bulacan. San Miguel Corp/Handout

MANILA — The Supreme Court has unanimously junked the writ of kalikasan petition against San Miguel Corporation’s (SMC) plan to build an airport in Bulakan, Bulacan as it was found lacking in form and substance, Chief Justice Diosdada Peralta said Tuesday afternoon.

The petition, filed by group Oceana Philippines, argued that the airport's construction would negatively impact marine biodiversity in the area, potentially affecting fisherfolk. 

The group also emphasized that the project violates Philippine environmental laws that must be followed before an airport project could commence. 

The project also supposedly lacked an Environmental Compliance Certificate (ECC) for the airport’s construction. The only ECC that San Miguel Aerocity, the SMC subsidiary managing the project, has is the one used for land development, the group said.

"The grounds that we have enumerated are first of all, Philippine Environmental laws which should enforce and that should regulate the airport project were violated or circumvented," Oceana’s legal counsel, lawyer Gregorio Viterbo Jr., earlier explained. 

Climate activist Xian Guevarra of the National Convenor of Youth Advocates for Climate Action Philippines, meanwhile, said the mangroves in fishponds would also be destroyed should the airport be built in the area. 

Mangroves in fishponds are important to control flooding and possible storm surge. 

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The 2,500-hectare development in Bulacan is expected to decongest the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA), provide thousands of jobs, build more road networks, and improve the real estate value of nearby areas, SMC said in an earlier statement.

The terminal will have 4 runways that can be expanded by up to 6, and can cater to 100 million passengers annually, the company said.

The new airport is expected to bring "trillions of dollars" in economic activity, 35 million tourists annually as well as 30 million tourism-related jobs for people in Bulacan and nearby provinces, it said. 

— Report from Mike Navallo, ABS-CBN News

More details to follow.