12/21/2013, 00.00
Send to a friend

Bishops against the anti-ecological reclamation of Manila Bay

In an open letter to President Aquino, 21 bishops call for a halt to projects that are likely to jeopardize the ecosystem of Manila Bay. It cites 38 actions that are of "deep concern" even among scientists and environmentalists. The head of state, warn the bishops, must look to the "common good" not "financial interests" .

Manila ( AsiaNews / EDA ) - In an open letter to President Benigno Aquino , 21 Filipino bishops - including Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle - are asking him to stop the reclamation projects of Manila Bay, which threaten to alter forever the delicate eco-system in the area. In the letter, written November 19, but only published these days, the bishops express their " deepest concern " about 38 work in progress, intended to "renew" the coastal area of the capital. According to plans, the reclamation works would allow create large portions of land, to the detriment of the sea. However , the bishops warn, the work as a whole is likely to have " dramatic consequences " on the local flora and fauna and people .

In the framework of the National Reclamation Plan, the Aquino government wants to launch 102 projects of urbanization, which will cover 38 thousand hectares of coastline, of which 70 % (or 38 projects and an area of ​​almost 27 thousand hectares ) in Manila Bay. Of these 38 projects , there are three in particular that raise deep concern and perplexity among the prelates , supported by authoritative scientific studies and battles of environmental groups.

The first concerns the construction of a giant fairground for tourists in Manila, over 148 acres large and renamed "Solar City".  A second would occupy 300 acres in Las Pinas / Paranaque , and the third would extend over an area of ​​300 hectares in Pasay . The last two places are included in the metropolitan area of the Philippine capital.

Relying on findings from in-depth scientific research, the 21 bishops warn the government against the dangers arising from indiscriminate reclamation of the bay. It will worsen the effects of already catastrophic flooding, that cyclically affect the areas . Similarly, portions of land stolen from the sea will be even more exposed to the heavy rains and flash floods that always accompany typhoons, as was the case in 2011 for the Cyclone Pedring and in November this year with the devastating typhoon Yolanda . Finally, the continuous seepage of water into the ground, where fragile foundations of buildings and structures would be placed, will leave them without any resistance to violent earthquakes that hit these regions.

It is not the first time that environmental movements, the Filipino Catholic Church and international NGOs have formed a united front on sensitive issues , asking instead for focus efforts on the development of "cultural riches " which the territory already offers. This particularly applies to the Manila Bay area which should be maintained and enhanced rather than endangering the coast with an " irretrievable degradation of the environment ."

In a letter to President Aquino, the bishops are asking whether the authorization that has given the go-ahead to projects is not only "determined by mere financial interests " ;  the prelates recall the duties to which the head of state is bound, which include the duty "to ensure the common good," and not only consider the profits which benefit only the promoters of the ( alleged) development programs of the bay. Finally, ensuring Aquino "their prayers," the bishops conclude the call expressing their confidence that he will choose " the best solution " to solve a problem that worries "all the people of the Philippines ."


Send to a friend
Printable version
See also
Philippines suspends Chinese-backed reclamation projects in Manila Bay
12/08/2023 18:57
Seoul, masses and prayers against Four Rivers project
Hạ Long Bay fishermen forced out to make room for tourism (and pollution)
18/04/2023 15:50
Marbel diocese celebrates 'victory' in stopping mining project
17/09/2022 12:54
World’s first eco-friendly church to be built in a Manila dumpsite


Subscribe to Asia News updates or change your preferences

Subscribe now
“L’Asia: ecco il nostro comune compito per il terzo millennio!” - Giovanni Paolo II, da “Alzatevi, andiamo”