PRESIDENT Rodrigo Duterte has signed an executive order transferring the power to approve reclamation projects to the Office of the President.
Duterte signed on Feb. 1 EO 74 transferring the Philippine Reclamation Authority to the OP.
Previously, the PRA was under the Department of Environment and Natural Resources while the National Economic and Development Authority Board was given the power to approve reclamation projects even as the PRA was allowed to continue to process, evaluate and recommend the approval of all proposed reclamation projects to the NEDA Board.
EO 74 repeals the EOs designating power to the DENR and NEDA Board over the PRA.
In signing EO 74, the President argued that “there is a need to rationalize the approval process of reclamation projects towards an economically and environmentally-sustainable resource development.”
The EO also mandates the PRA to seek advisory opinions from the NEDA, DENR, and Department of Finance on any proposed reclamation project.
It states that no reclamation project shall be approved by the PRA without the required area clearance and environmental compliance certificate from the DENR.
The EO applies to “all reclamation projects, including those initiated by LGUs and all other agencies, government-owned-or-controlled corporations or any government entity allowed under existing laws to reclaim land, for which there are no contracts/agreements yet executed.”
The President’s move to transfer the PRA under the OP came just as Manila Mayor Joseph Estrada approved three reclamation projects along the Manila Bay.
Leftist lawmakers warned that the ongoing efforts to rehabilitate Manila Bay was just a prelude for the rise of reclamation projects in the famed body of water.