FORMER Parañaque City Mayor Florencio “Jun” Bernabe and showbiz personalities and now Councilors Alma Moreno, Jason Webb, Val Sotto and Roselle Nava are in hot water for approving a proposal to develop more than 100 hectares of reclaimed land in Manila Bay.
Bernabe and the said officials were questioned by environmental groups after forging a deal with AVESCO Marketing Corporation for the project that may cause irreparable damage to nature and the environment.
A Writ of Kalikasan is expected to be filed at the Supreme Court while graft charges are being studied for filing before the Office of the Ombudsman next week against them.
The Paranaque officials worked for the approval of Resolution No. 13-026 or “A Resolution Authorizing the Honorable Mayor Florencio M. Bernabe Jr. To Accept The Unsolicited Proposal of AVESCO Marketing Corporation For the Reclamation and Development of Certain Areas In Manila Bay Under A Joint Venture Agreement.”
The SC has spearheaded a ruling for a continuing mandamus for the cleanup of Manila Bay. Associate Justice Presbitero Velasco was named as the man in charge.
Critics claimed the project would be disadvantageous to the city government and environment.
Copies of the City Council Resolutions, Committee Report and the Proffer Plan of AVESCO were sent to the media indicating the proposed reclamation of 111.755 hectares of land within the Bay area.
The group Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamalakaya ng Pilipinas (Pamalakaya), the lead environmental group questioning the project, had asked Environment Secretary Ramon Paje to recall all the Environment Compliance Certificates (ECCs) issued to reclamation projects in Manila Bay.
This issue on the Parañaque reclamation site jibes with the petition filed by Senator Cynthia Villar against the Parañaque and Las Piñas Coastal Bay Project which will destroy wildlife habitat in the area and expose the residents of the said cities and the municipality of Bacoor to great risk of flooding.
Reclamation projects will also wreak havoc on the habitat of several species of birds including some of the most endangered species in the world such as the Philippine Duck and the Chinese Egret, Pamalakaya said.
The proposed reclamation will result in the habitat being cut off, isolated and segregated from Manila Bay. The mangroves found therein would eventually perish due to lack of saltwater, leading to the breakdown of the ecosystem.
More than 5,000 birds will lose their home and, in all probability, eventually die, the group added.
A Writ of Kalikasan case is a legal remedy providing protection to one’s right to “a balanced and healthful ecology in accord with the rhythm and harmony of nature.”
The writ is provided under Section 16, Article II of the 1987 Philippine Constitution which states that, “The State shall protect and advance the right of the people to a balanced and healthful ecology in accord with the rhythm and harmony of nature”.