Duterte moves power over reclamation from NEDA to PRA
MANILA, Philippines – MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte has transferred the power to approve reclamation projects from the National Economic Development Authority (NEDA) to the Philippine Reclamation Authority (PRA), Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea said Monday.
On Feb. 1, the President signed Executive Order No 74, which places the PRA under the Office of the President (OP).
The PRA was previously under the Department of Environment and Natural Resources.
“The PRA shall be under the control and supervision of the OP, while the power of the President to approve all reclamation projects shall be delegated to the PRA Governing Board. Such delegation, however, shall not be construed as diminishing the President’s authority to modify, amend or nullify the action of the PRA Governing Board,” Duterte said in the EO.
The President argued that “there is a need to rationalize the approval process of reclamation projects towards an economically and environmentally sustainable resource development.”
The EO said PRA would seek advisory opinions from the Neda, DENR, and Department of Finance on any proposed reclamation project.
It added that no reclamation project should be approved by the PRA without the required area clearance and environmental compliance certificate from the DENR.
The EO, Duterte said, would apply to “all reclamation projects, including those initiated by LGUs and all other agencies, government-owned or -controlled corporations or any government entity allowed under existing laws to reclaim land, for which there are no contracts/agreements yet executed.”
Is the President dismayed with Neda with his transferring of power to PRA?
“Not necessarily, first that’s the discretion of the President [because] he has control over the executive departments and offices. Perhaps the reason is to streamline the services of agencies. Maybe it’s more effective,” Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said in a Palace briefing.
The EO came after Manila Mayor Joseph Estrada approved three reclamation projects at the Manila Bay.
But when asked if the release of the new EO was connected to the planned Manila Bay reclamation project, Panelo denied this.
“Not necessarily; si Presidente naman basta gusto niya palagi compliant with the law. Ayaw niya ng brasuhan, ayaw niya ng palakasan. Palagi kung ano yung batas yun sundin na lang natin,” he said.
The Palace official also denied that the EO was meant to favor Davao-based businessman Dennis Uy.
A consortium of Uy, who is a friend of Duterte, was also awarded a P62-billion reclamation project in Pasay City.
“Any executive order issued by the President is favorable to the Filipino people, not to a particular individual,” Panelo said.
“He (Duterte) has been telling us, “I am no respecter alliances, of friends and relative. Comply with the law; otherwise, ako ang kalaban niyo.’ ‘Yan ang sinabi niya,” he added. /cbb, je
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