MANILA - Malacañang on Thursday said it may allow reclamation projects in Manila Bay, even as leftist lawmakers warned that building infrastructure on the historic bay would displace thousands of informal settlers.
In a Palace press briefing, Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said any reclamation project “would generate income [for] the government.”
Anakpawis Rep. Ariel Casilao and his peers in the Makabayan bloc in the House of Representatives recently filed a resolution that initially sought to postpone the cleanup until a "comprehensive and holistic study" is done on how it would affect informal settlers living around the Manila Bay.
The resolution has since been amended to state that the legislators want the suspension of the planned reclamation in the course of rehabilitation, which was their original intent, said Casilao.
The leftist lawmakers "fully support" the rehabilitation but insisted that it should not be used to "disguise" the reclamation of a 32,000-hectare coastal area for 43 infrastructure projects.
"'Wag tayong matali lang doon sa konsepto ng paglilinis at 'yung plain and simple konsepto ng rehabilitation kung ang susunod pala dito ay reklamasyon," he told ANC's Early Edition.
A consortium of Dennis Uy, a Davao-based businessman who maintains close ties with President Rodrigo Duterte, was also awarded a P62-billion reclamation project in Pasay City.
Thousands of volunteers trooped to Manila Bay last Sunday to kick-off weekly cleanups Año had ordered local governments to mount in their respective areas.
The rehabilitation of the bay, famous for sunset-watching but plagued by a waste problem, was set after Duterte warned businesses in the vicinity to comply with environment regulations or face closure.