Pasay, Parañaque dads back another bay reclamation plan
The councils of the neighboring cities of Pasay and Parañaque have endorsed proposals made by major developer SM Land Inc. to reclaim 300 hectares of Manila Bay in each city.
On Aug. 12, the Pasay City council approved Resolution No. 3020, authorizing Mayor Antonino Calixto to accept the proposal he received from SM Land on July 25.
The company’s unsolicited bid for a joint venture agreement with the city government involved the “raw land reclamation and horizontal development” of 300 hectares of foreshore and offshore areas of Manila Bay located at the western end of Pasay City.
SM Land made a similar unsolicited proposal to Parañaque Mayor Edwin Olivarez on Sept. 11. Two weeks later, on Sept. 26, the council approved Resolution No. 13-066 authorizing Olivarez to accept the bid to develop an additional 200 hectares of Manila Bay in the city and enter into a joint venture agreement.
Last year, the previous city administration already authorized the reclamation of 100 hectares of Manila Bay in Parañaque.
In an interview on Tuesday, Parañaque City Administrator Fernando Soriano, who also chairs the local bids and awards committee, confirmed the SM Land reclamation proposal for a
300-hectare commercial area on the city’s section of Manila Bay.
Resolution No. 13-066 described the proposed reclamation area as stretching “from the boundary of Pasay and Parañaque in the north, to the seawall projection of the… Tan Yu/Asia World Reclamation in Barangay Don Galo in the south.”
In view of SM Land’s unsolicited proposal, the Pasay City government, through newspaper ads, issued a public invitation for competing proposals, according to Public Information Officer Jonathan Malaya.
Malaya clarified that “the project had not yet been awarded, contrary to reports in other newspapers.”
The public invitation was made for the SM Land proposal to be subjected to the requisite “Swiss Challenge,” wherein other groups could come forward and match that offer. The local government would determine which of the offers would be most advantageous to the city, Malaya said.
Soriano said the Parañaque reclamation proposal had yet to undergo this process. “There is only the [council] resolution. The proposal has not yet been approved [by Mayor Olivarez]. It still has to pass tedious public consultations and the Swiss Challenge, for which notices will be published,” he explained.
According to Pasay City’s published notice signed by Administrator Dennis Bernardo Acorda, SM Land had offered to fully finance the project at an estimated cost of P54.5 billion and finish construction in seven years. The developer offered 51 percent or about 153 hectares of the project as government share, the notice showed.
The Parañaque council, in the Sept. 26 resolution, said the proposed reclamation “will certainly be beneficial to the city and its people in terms of taxes and employment” and that the local government would get a share of 630,000 square meters of land in the reclaimed area.
Call to Aquino
In a statement on Tuesday, the militant fisherfolk group Pamalakaya called on President Aquino and the Department of Environmental and Natural Resources (DENR) to disapprove the project.
Warning of adverse environmental impacts of reclamation such as flooding and the destruction of natural marine habitats, the group had earlier raised strong objections against two similar Manila Bay projects.
These are the 148-hectare Solar City project in Manila and the 635-hectare Las Piñas-Parañaque coastal development, the latter being opposed by groups led by Sen. Cynthia Villar.
“Imagine, it only took 15 days for the councilors of Parañaque to study or consider the economic and environmental implications of large-scale reclamation. This is preposterous and something sinister appeared to have happened without the knowledge of affected citizens and the general public,” said Pamalakaya vice chair Salvador France.
Pamalakaya insisted that Manila Bay should be kept free of reclamation projects “to stop the wholesale loss of people’s livelihood and prevent natural and man-made calamities in the future.”
But Soriano assured critics that the proposal still had a long way to go and that public consultations would be held. “As chair of the bids and awards committee, I give them my assurance that everything will undergo due process,” he said. With a report from Inquirer Research
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