Bacoor pitches reclamation as a flood control measure

THE PROPOSED 420-hectare reclamation project along CAVITEX in Bacoor City is expected to address flooding and facilitate the relocation of informal settler families, the Bacoor City government said in a statement on Monday.

The statement was issued after stakeholders attended a public hearing on the Manila-Cavite Expressway project conducted by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) on Jan. 9.

The Bacoor Reclamation and Development Projects consist of islands of up 320 hectares, while the Diamond Reclamation and Development Project is a 100-hectare island executed via a public-private partnership.

The project is opposed by fishermen, who said Tuesday that the reclamation expels the area’s fishing community and harms the environment in order to make way for a business hub.

“The City hopes to integrate in these two projects a most effective approach to the long-term clean-up of Manila Bay as mandated by a SC (Supreme Court)… being the only projects along the Manila Bay that carry with them a program for relocation and resettlement of Informal Settler Families (ISFs) living along the 10 coastal barangays,” Bacoor said in its statement.

Bacoor City’s Barangay Alima will be turned into a fisherman’s village to resettle families living along Bacoor Bay.

Masasabi natin na ito ay isa sa mga iilang reclamation projects sa Pilipinas na may in-city relocation (This is one of the few reclamation projects in the Philippines that has in-city relocation),” Bacoor Mayor Lani M. Revilla said.

A national organization of fishermen, the Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (PAMALAKAYA) said in a statement that its members protested the hearing and claim that many residents will be relocated to non-coastal areas such as Naic, Cavite and the Molino district of Bacoor.

Alyansa ng mga Magdaragat sa Bacoor Bay spokesperson Joel C. Falcis said that the mayor cannot “arbitrarily uproot the lives of tens of thousands of fisherfolk by relocating them to areas far from their source of livelihood.”

“Our collective and humble appeal to our Mayor is to reconsider her decision to eject us from our fishing community to pave way for private establishments that are of no benefit to her constituents,” he said.

PAMALAKAYA in an e-mail Tuesday also disputed the city government’s claim that it received “overwhelming” support from stakeholders at the hearing, saying that not everyone present was sufficiently informed beforehand.

Ms. Revilla said the project is integrated with various long-term flood mitigation projects of the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH).

“The Flood Risk Management Project of the DPWH will improve river channels and create diversion channels from Imus to Bacoor City which will serve as the flood discharge system of the rainwater catchment basin of Bacoor in Buhay na Tubig,” the statement said.

The channels between the island are also aligned with existing river outflows. The statement said that studies conducted by the private sector also found that the islands can serve as the city’s storm surge defenses.

The reclamation project, the city said, is also expected to create 700,000 jobs due to new investments and businesses in the residential, leisure, commercial and education and technology mixed-use zone.

“Increased revenue will also enable the city government to improve the delivery of government services, particularly through extensive use of smart technology,” Ms. Revilla said.

PAMALAKAYA last year filed a formal complaint with the DENR regarding the three ongoing reclamation activities in Cavite. — Jenina P. Ibañez...

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