De Lima seeks probe into large-scale land reclamation projects

Wena Cos, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Dec 11 2021 06:39 PM | Updated as of Dec 12 2021 05:27 PM

Screenshot from a handout video shown on ABS-CBN News Channel
Screenshot from a handout video shown on ABS-CBN News Channel

MANILA— Congress should investigate large-scale land reclamation projects for the threats they pose to coastal and marine ecosystems around the country, opposition Sen. Leila de Lima said Saturday.

“Congress, in exercise of its oversight powers, must immediately conduct an investigation on the processes undertaken by local government units in approving these reclamation projects and determine their compliance with existing environmental laws and regulations,” De Lima said in a resolution.

The resolution quoted a position paper by Oceana, a nonprofit ocean conservation organization, which said reclamation projects “hide behind the promise of economic progress and infrastructure development," but do so at the expense of the environment, which also compromise the socio-economic welfare and livelihood of marginalized Filipinos.

De Lima identified reclamation done at the Manila Bay, and a planned 174-hectare reclamation along Dumaguete City coastline, which has drawn wide protests in the city.

De Lima also cited projects in Cebu, including a 230-hectare reclamation in Consolacion, a 100-hectare reclamation in Minglanilla, and a 126-hectare reclamation project in Mandaue City.

While reclamation projects promise new employment, they also displace existing workers, the document said, quoting Dr. Giovanni Tapang of the Advocates of Science and Technology for the People.

"It should not be a very small matter to just show the map and not consider this very, very large impact not only to the environment but also to the economy and the livelihood of the people. Of course, there will be displacement of settlements, fishing grounds, flooding and environmental damage," Tapang said in a press release in 2014. 

De Lima emphasized that there must be strict implementation of the country’s environmental laws, and that approval should only be granted to projects fully compliant with environmental provisions.

“The widespread approval of reclamation projects is altogether alarming for our and future generations of Filipinos and the government should consider imposing a moratorium on the continuing approval of such projects, both large and small,” she said.

De Lima is also Chairperson of the Senate Committee on Social Justice, Welfare and Rural Development.


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