A VETERAN solon slammed the Philippine Reclamation Authority (PRA) for its failure to effectively regulate the numerous reclamation projects all over the country.
Deputy Minority Leader and Buhay Rep. Lito Atienza asked the PRA to explain why it allowed several reclamation projects in Manila Bay without considering the environmental hazards.
At yesterday’s hearing conducted by the Metro Manila Development Committee, Atienza inquired about the pending reclamation projects and how they would affect Manila Bay.
Atienza expressed extreme disappointment with the reply of PRA Assistant General Manager for Reclamation and Regulation Atty. Joseph Literal that the agency’s prevailing policy is to approve all applications for reclamation projects without considering the serious environmental impact.
Based on the record of the PRA, there are 22 reclamation projects poised to be completed and about 100 more in different parts of the country.
But Atienza said these projects indeed would affect the environment.
“If all these projects are allowed to proceed, the effects would be catastrophic for all of us. There seems to be a reclamation craze sweeping across the country and you just keep approving each one of them!” he added.
The solon was elated when President Rodrigo Duterte ordered the transfer of the PRA under the Office of the President. “Malalaman na ngayon ng Presidente ang ginagawa ng mga tao sa ahensiyang ito,” Atienza said.
Atienza also assailed the PRA’s argument that reclamation projects such as Pasay’s Entertainment City, would generate thousands of jobs.
Meanwhile, Interior and Local Government Secretary Eduardo Año yesterday convened the 178 city and municipal mayors in Region III, IV-A and NCR within the Manila Bay watershed area as he kept the local chief executives abreast on their critical roles and responsibilities in the rehabilitation of Manila Bay.
The mayors were reminded of their commitments on the herculean task in the Manila Bay clean up, rehabilitation and preservation program under Supreme Court decision last December 18, 2012 and a resolution dated February 15, 2011.
“Local government units should be at the forefront of efforts to clean-up, rehabilitate, and preserve the waters of Manila Bay. They should, therefore, be more proactive in encouraging the support and cooperation of their constituents and other stakeholders to bring back the glory of Manila Bay,” Año said during the meeting held at the New World Manila Bay Hotel.
With Joel dela Torre