Reclamation projects jeopardize coastal and marine landscapes around the country, a statement shared by local leaders, fisheries, the urban poor, and church groups during the Second People’s Summit on the Impacts of Reclamation ‘Restore the Coast, Protect the People.’ This reclamation summit, held last March 26-27, 2019 at the Bayleaf Hotel, Intramuros, was organized by the People’s Network for the Integrity of Coastal Habitats and Ecosystems (People’s NICHE). People’s NICHE is a national alliance advocating for ecological restoration as an alternative to land reclamation.
During this summit, Dr. Emma Porio, the Project Leader of Coastal Cities at Risk in the Philippines ‘Investing in Climate and Disaster Resilience’ shared her research on the ‘Social Impacts of Reclamation: South Reclamation Project, Cebu City, and Batangas City Port Development.’ One major point she pushed was how the reclamation projects increased people’s vulnerability, both locally and globally. In her presentation, she shared that reclamation negatively influences people’s income and livelihood, while posing challenges in social and environmental security.
Other participants in this event include Mr. Vito Hernandez, a Senior Lecturer from the University of the Philippines Science Society Program. He discussed the dangerous effects of reclamation projects in relation to the increase in disaster risk and food security. Ms Gia Glarino, the Research Coordinator for Kalikasan People’s Network to the Environment, also shared her research on Human Rights and Gender in the Manila Bay.
The goal of this conference was to question the government’s support for these projects, despite the constitutional mandate to ensure the right of the people to a balanced ecology. It assessed these projects’ approval despite their non-compliance with existing laws, as well as people’s courses of action to stop these projects.
Throughout the summit, the Oceana Philippines called for the Philippine government to assess the possible effects of the reclamation projects on the livelihood of the stakeholders affected as well as the local ecology. UsecEpimaco V. Densing III, Undersecretary for Operations, Department of the Interior and Local Government mirrored these statements: “No to reclamation in Manila Bay, yes to rehabilitation.” Hon. Cynthia Villar reiterated that there is “No need for reclamation.”