Manila OKs huge reclamation project

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The city government of Manila has allowed the expansion of the Harbour Centre in Tondo that will entail the reclamation of 50 hectares of land in Manila Bay.

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Manila Mayor Joseph Estrada on Friday said the city council ratified early this week the joint venture agreement the city government entered into with the R-II Builders Inc.

He said the expansion project will cost P7.4 billion.

“The developer told me that oil depots and many industries along the Pasig River will be transferring to the soon-to-be expanded port once it is completed, which means there will be less polluters in the river. This is good news, considering we, too, support the rehabilitation of our beloved Pasig River,” Estrada said.

The mayor said Pasig River has become a huge sewer system because of industrialization and the thousands of informal settlers that had settled along its banks.

Reghis Romero II, chairman of R-II Builders, Inc., said some companies located along the Pasig River have expressed interest to transfer to the North Harbor port once the project is completed.

Estrada said the city government will have its share of 15-hectare land, valued at P2.7 billion, that he intends to develop into an industrial, commercial and cultural complex.

“This is what I’ve been envisioning, a huge piece of land where we could extend our local government offices and put up other useful facilities,” he said.

The project, he said, will generate thousands of job opportunities for Manileños and tax revenues for the city government.

“At no cost to the city, we will be able to get many benefits while at the same time help solve the current congestion at the Port of Manila, which is being blamed for the rising cost of commodities,” the mayor said.

Presided by Vice Mayor Honey Lacuna-Pangan, the 36-member city council approved the joint venture agreement inked on July 21 by Estrada and Romero. With the concurrence of the city council, the proposal will not go to the Philippine Reclamation Authority (PRA).

Under the agreement, R-II will reclaim 50 hectares of Manila Bay to expand the existing 79-hectare Manila North Harbour Centre, popularly known as North Harbor, which is currently being operated by Harbour Centre Port Terminal, Inc.

Phase 1 of the project involves the reclamation of 20 hectares, including a kilometer-long berthing apron and backup area for cargoes, while Phase 2 will entail the reclamation of 30 hectares for mixed-use development, including road utilities and other facilities such as warehouses and storage facilities.

Half of the 30-hectare reclaimed land will be given to the city government of Manila.

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