MANILA- President Rodrigo Duterte said he is unlikely to approve proposed Manila Bay reclamation projects as he expressed apprehensions over its scope.
Duterte said reclaiming 10,000 hectares of the Manila Bay is "mind-boggling," emphasizing the need to protect the environment.
"That big, it's stupefying. Mukhang I am not ready for that. I am not ready even to say that I will grant it," Duterte told broadcaster Ted Failon.
"Not in my time, as long as there is no guarantee that the environment will be protected and the health of the people also safeguarded," the President added.
Almost 10,000 hectares of the Manila Bay, from Navotas City to Cavite are supposed to undergo reclamation under 25 projects.
Last month, the Philippine Reclamation Authority said 4 projects have been given notices to proceed, namely the Navotas City Coastal Bay Reclamation Project, Pasay 360-Hectare Reclamation Project, Pasay 265-Hectare Reclamation Project, and the Horizon Manila 418-Reclamation Project.
The projects however still have to undergo value engineering approval before reclamation efforts begin.
Duterte said reclaiming such a huge part of the body of water should undergo an audit to study waste management.
"You have to make an audit now of whether or not the environment of the entire area there can absorb the waste and where would it go after being treated," he said.
"There has to be a concrete showing that the environment will be protected. Otherwise I would say that I am not [for it]," he added.