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'Big One' must be considered in reclamation projects in Manila Bay —DENR

The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) on Wednesday underscored that the occurrence of a possible major earthquake touted as the "Big One" should be considered when it comes to the reclamation projects in Manila Bay.

At a Palace press briefing, DENR Secretary Antonia Yulo Loyzaga said reclamation projects are necessary in improving the economy, however, its effects to the ecology should also be considered.

"I think what’s important is reclamation has a certain value, obviously in terms of the economy. However, we need to do the cost benefit analysis in terms of the impact to the ecology and the longer term impact in terms of possibly what could result from climate change," Loyzaga said.

"For example, sea level rise needs to be considered, the different possible geological events that could actually take place  —as you know, there has been a lot of talk about the ‘big one’ ‘no," she added.

The sea level rise should also be a consideration in the conduct of the reclamation projects, Loyzaga said.

"All of these need to be taken to consideration in terms of scenarios for reclamation as well as the subsidence that is ongoing because of the extraction of groundwater from the coastal areas of Manila Bay," Loyzaga said.

Loyzaga reiterated that the DENR has been conducting cumulative impact assessment on the reclamation projects to demonstrate the effects of the projects to the Manila Bay.

Back in February, the Philippine Reclamation Authority (PRA) said it will start filling land in one of the three reclamation projects this year in the bay area.

“The project is a mixed development, institutional, residential, and commercial,” PRA assistant general manager Joseph Literal said.

The permits for the projects were completed from 2019 to 2021 under the Duterte administration.

At least 5,000 hectares of Manila Bay will be needed for the total of 13 reclamation projects that have been approved. —VAL, GMA Integrated News