Hontiveros supports PBBM suspension of reclamation projects

Senator Risa Hontiveros supports the suspension order of President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. on the reclamation projects in Manila Bay as she reiterates her call to reject all China-funded reclamation projects in the country. President Marcos on Monday announced in Bulacan that he ordered the suspension of all reclamation projects in Manila Bay except for one pending review. The President's order came after massive floods hit several Bulacan towns in the past weeks. Marcos did not specify which projects are suspended, but said that the sea along Roxas Boulevard could disappear due to the reclamation projects. 'I welcome PBBM's suspension of reclamation projects in Manila Bay. There are questionable entities involved in those projects, particularly the China state-owned China Communications Construction Co. (CCCC), which has historically destroyed our marine ecosystems in the West Philippine Sea. Dapat hindi na tayo nakikipagsapalaran sa mga kumpanya tulad ng CCCC (We should not be taking risks with companies like CCCC)," Hontiveros said in a statement on Wednesday. Last year, Hontiveros filed Proposed Senate Resolution 300 to conduct an inquiry into the reported large-scale land reclamation projects being undertaken on a nationwide scale in the Philippines, including the projects in Manila Bay. In calling for the rejection of Chinese-funded reclamation projects in the country, the senator said two of the six initially approved reclamation projects in Manila Bay are executed by China Harbour Engineering Company Ltd., a subsidiary of China state-owned CCCC. In the resolution, Hontiveros cited scientist Dr. Giovanni Tapang who said the reclamation of more than 38,000 hectares, of which 26,232 hectares are along the coast of Manila Bay covered by the National Reclamation Plan will translate to a loss of the same area of seagrass, the spawning ground and habitat of aquatic life, leading to an annual loss of 4-7 billion invertebrates and 3-78 trillion fish. 'These China-funded reclamation projects may cause irreversible damage to our cherished natural resources. Ang likas-yaman na nga lang ng Pilipinas ang napanghahawakang yaman ng mga Pilipino, kaya dapat matindi ang ginagawa nating pagdedepensa dito (Our natural resources is our only wealth and we must protect this at all costs)," Hontiveros said. She also called on the ban of CCCC as a response to the repeated provocations of China in the West Philippine Sea, including the recent firing of a water cannon by the Chinese Coast Guard at the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) last Saturday, blocking the resupply mission to Ayungin Shoal. After the indignation expressed by the Department of Foreign Affairs, the PCG, and the Armed Forces of the Philippines against the use of water cannons, China, instead of issuing an apology, asserted its baseless claims and demanded that the Philippines remove BRP Sierra Madre from Ayungin Shoal. 'BRP Sierra Madre is a Philippine asset that we have all the right to maintain in Ayungin Shoal. We will never allow anyone to forcibly take that vessel out of our own waters. We must draw up other diplomatic and political ways to stand our ground, including stopping China-funded projects on our shores,' Hontiveros said

Source: Philippines News Agency