Makabayan bloc: We’re not against Manila Bay rehab
MANILA, Philippines — Lawmakers from the Makabayan bloc clarified on Wednesday that they are not against the rehabilitation of Manila Bay.
However, they said they are concerned about the “seemingly hidden projects” in the rehabilitation efforts.
“For the record, Makabayan’s position is we are for Manila Bay rehabilitation,” Anakpawis Rep. Ariel Casilao said in a press briefing inside the House of Representatives.
He explained that what they are against is the fact that the plan is not clear, there is no blueprint, and it’s not clear who are behind the rehabilitation and the prominent businessmen who will benefit from it.
Casilao also pleaded to the people to look at their request to postpone the rehabilitation efforts from a different perspective.
“Dapat tignan po natin ang buong bituka nito (Manila Bay rehab), ang buong laman. ‘Wag lang po sana tayong i-kahon na simpleng ang Makabayan ay nanawagan ng suspension ng rehabilitation,” the lawmaker asked.
(We should scrutinize this in detail. Don’t take it simply that Makabayan is merely calling for the suspension of the rehabilitation.)
“No, we do not call for the suspension or stoppage of any effort, community-based effort in cleaning up Manila Bay. We support the rehabilitation, but we wanted that the government to be transparent and lay down all the cards,” he said.
Earlier, the Makabayan bloc, composed of Casilao, Bayan Muna Rep. Carlos Zarate, Gabriela Reps. Emmi de Jesus and Arlene Brosas, ACT partylist Reps. Antonio Tinio and France Castro, and Kabataan Rep. Sarah Elago, filed a resolution stressing the need to study the impact of the rehabilitation on the marginalized sector.
According to the lawmakers, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) should study first the effect of the cleanup to informal settlers in the area.
In a previous speech, President Rodrigo Duterte ordered DENR and the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) to clean the Manila Bay after the rehabilitation of tourist island Boracay.
On Sunday, the massive cleanup drive was initiated, and the results — a clear shoreline along Roxas Boulevard — drew praises from netizens and other personalities.
The DILG has called out the Makabayan bloc for “politicizing” the cleanup drive, saying that it is out only to gain votes for the upcoming elections.
Assistant Secretary and Spokesperson Jonathan Malaya even accused the bloc of giving in to business interests affected by the closure of establishments during the rehabilitation. /ee
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