DENR allays fear of flooding once airport rises in Bulacan
BULAKAN, Bulacan — Officials of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) have assured residents that there would be no incidents of flooding when 2,372 hectares of idle fishponds are developed for the construction of a P700-billion international airport here.
Elisa Dimaliwat, chief of the DENR regional Environmental Management Bureau (EMB) for environmental monitoring and enforcement, said residents living in the coastal villages of Taliptip and Bambang “have nothing to worry” about the land development project in the area.
“We will address all your concerns and we will be cautious in issuing environmental clearance certificate [to the project proponents],” Dimaliwat told some 200 villagers during a public hearing here on Monday.
Silvertides Holding Corp., which initiated the public hearing, would not confirm if the consultation with the villagers was for the airport construction.
But Inquirer sources said Silvertides was contracted by the proponent, San Miguel Corp. (SMC), to acquire the fishponds from private owners to give way to the airport project dubbed “Aerotropolis.”
Silvertides already acquired about 2,000 ha of fishponds in this town, residents and local officials here said. The affected areas are titled private lands that had been used for inland fishing but are now idle.
SMC officials have said that construction activities for the project, being positioned as an alternative to Ninoy Aquino International Airport in Pasay City, will start this year. The project will cover coastal areas in this town.
Dimaliwat said her office would ensure that Silvertides would comply with all requirements and heed their recommendations to prevent massive flooding in the villages affected by the project construction.
“Approving and issuing the ECC (environmental compliance certificate) to Silvertides might be delayed because the company had yet to specify its project in this area,” Dimaliwat told the Inquirer.
According to Philkairos Inc., a group that conducted an environmental impact assessment of the area, the site is situated in a low ground and is flood-prone.
The group has recommended building drainage canals during land development to mitigate flooding.
Gil Calimon, 60, a resident of Barangay Bagumbayan here, said backfilling operations during land development would elevate the ground that could lead to rising water levels around affected villages.
“This will further worsen the floods we experience during high tide,” he said.
Heavy earthwork on idle fishponds includes backfilling and may require 205 million cubic meters of filling materials, Philkairos said in a report.
Fe Anastacio, 67, a resident of Barangay Taliptip, said she feared the project would also displace fishpond caretakers and that they would not be given a resettlement site or livelihood programs.
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