Pro-environment group criticized the decision of President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. to exempt two reclamation projects in Manila Bay from the suspension order.
“The fact that Marcos Jr. can so easily backtrack on his announcement to suspend reclamation in Manila Bay goes to show just how insincere he is when it comes to protecting the environment,” said Jon Bonifacio, national coordinator of Kalikasan People’s Network for the Environment (PNE).
The two projects in question are the 265-hectare Pasay Harbor City project and the “Pasay 360” project by SM Prime Holdings.
According to Pasay City officials on November 27, these projects were deemed compliant with government regulations.
Reclamation projects in Manila Bay have faced increasing opposition from civil society groups and community organizations due to their reported negative environmental and social impacts, including exacerbated flooding and economic displacement.
Bonifacio stressed that the initial suspension order aimed to allow time for a cumulative impact assessment regarding the effects of reclamation in Manila Bay.
“Allowing any of the projects to continue at this point is tantamount to the government giving a green light to ecological devastation,” he warned.
Kalikasan PNE drew attention to the involvement of Dutch dredging company Boskalis in the 265-hectare reclamation project, asserting that this should be grounds for continued suspension.
Boskalis had previously been associated with the controversial New Manila International Airport project in Bulacan, where environmental and human rights violations were documented as a result of reclamation and dredging operations.
The environmental group reiterated its call for a complete halt to all reclamation projects in Manila Bay.
Kalikasan PNE urged the pursuit of “genuine rehabilitation” for Manila Bay and its communities.