Manila reclamation projects to go through ‘eye of a needle’: Moreno

Christian V. Esguerra, ABS-CBN News

Posted at May 21 2019 02:45 PM

Manila Mayor-elect Isko Moreno speaks at a campaign rally in Manila. Moreno said on May 21, 2019 that he would order a strict review of multibillion-peso reclamation projects on Manila Bay. Jonathan Cellona, ABS-CBN News/File

MANILA -- Incoming Mayor Isko Moreno said Tuesday he would order a strict review of multibillion-peso reclamation projects lined up in the Philippine capital city over concerns they would trigger flooding and destroy the environment.

“Dadaan sila sa butas ng karayom,” he told ABS-CBN News.

(They will go through the eye of a needle.)

Outgoing Mayor Joseph Estrada has given the go-signal for at least 4 commercial and residential projects that would require reclaiming huge portions of the Manila Bay.

Estrada, who lost to Moreno in last week’s mayoral election, earlier boasted of some P50 billion in projected revenues and half a million jobs to be generated by the 148-hectare Solar City project alone.

Also in the pipeline are the planned Manila Waterfront City and the City of Pearl project.

Moreno said the projects would be reviewed “to the letter” to ensure compliance with all government requirements.

“If they followed the regulation, then they’re welcome, but not that easy,” he said. 

“Igigiit ko ang kaligtasan ng mga taga-lungsod ng Maynila at epekto sa kapaligiran, for our children in the future.”

(I will insist on the safety of Manila residents and that the projects don't affect the environment, for our children in the future.)

The Philippine government was earlier warned that dumping soil into the Manila Bay would displace thousands of residents, cause flooding, and harm its biodiversity.

Moreno said he would focus on inland development while awaiting review of the reclamation projects.

“(They’re) not my priority,” he said.