ALMOST three years into the six-year Duterte administration, there’s now that urgent need to rationalize the approval process of reclamation projects not only in Metropolitan Manila but elsewhere.
In fact, tough-talking President Duterte, the first Mindanaoan to hold the top political post of the land, has transferred the Philippine Reclamation Authority (PRA) to the Office of the President (OP).
President Duterte signed Executive Order (EO) No. 74 placing PRA under the control and supervision of OP and given the power to approve all reclamation projects.
The PRA used to be under the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), while the National Economic Development Authority (NEDA) Board approved all reclamation projects.
Under the newly-signed EO No. 74, the PRA is mandated to seek advisory opinions from the NEDA, DENR and the Department of Finance (DoF) on any proposed reclamation project.
No reclamation project shall be approved by the PRA without the required area clearance and environmental compliance certificate from the DENR, according to EO No. 74.
The executive order applies to all reclamation projects, including those initiated by Local Government Units (LGUs) as well as government-owned or controlled corporations.
Duterte transferred the PRA to the OP days after Mayor Joseph Estrada, a former President of the Philippines, was reported to have approved three reclamation projects in sun-kissed Manila Bay.
Leftist lawmakers alleged that the ongoing rehabilitation of historic Manila Bay is just part of a plan to undertake several reclamation projects in the heavily-polluted body of water.
But people are hopeful that Malacañang, knowing full well the need to preserve the splendor of the “Sunset at Manila Bay” joins the ranks of those opposing the planned reclamation projects.