By Karen Boncocan
7:11 pm | Friday, March 16th, 2012
Published from: INQUIRER.net (http://newsinfo.inquirer.net/162669/ex-las-pinas-solon-files-writ-of-kal%0Aikasan-to-stop-coastal-bay-project)
MANILA, Philippines—Former Las Piñas City Representative Cynthia Villar on Friday filed a petition for Writ of Kalikasan against a reclamation project along the Bacoor-Las Pinas-Parañaque coastline of Manila Bay.
The petition was filed before the Supreme Court against Alltech Contractors, Inc., Philippine Reclamation Authority, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources, the Environmental Management Bureau and the City Government of Las Piñas. They are the proponents of the Paranaque and Las Piñas Coastal Bay Project.
Villar sought the assistance of an ex-parte Temporary Environmental Protection Order which would prohibit the respondents from implementing the project pending a resolution from the high court.
The petition was supported by 315,849 residents of Las Piñas City and urged the high tribunal to put a stop to the project as it poses risks not only to its residents but also to the wildlife habitat and ecotourism areas.
It alleged that the proponents of the said project skirted environmental impact assessment processes by stating that it was just a “continuation” of the Manila Bay Land Reclamation Project by the Public Estates Authority which is now known as the Public Reclamation Authority, and the Amari Coastal Bay Development Corporation.
The petition explained that the project could place in danger 175.307 hectares worth of critical habitat and ecotourism area in Las Piñas and Parañaque.
The said area is home for 195 species of birds, including endangered species like the Philippine Duck and the Chinese Egret; and rare birds such as the Osprey, Pied Avocet and the Siberian Rubythroat. Eight species of mangroves can also be found there.
The project, the lawmaker said, will isolate the said area from Manila Bay resulting in the breakdown of the ecosystem once mangroves suffer from lack of saltwater and roughly 5000 birds lose their home.
According to Villar, the said project seeks to reclaim 635.14 hectares of submerged land along the coast of the two cities and Bacoor town. But she cited a study by Tricore Solutions Inc., a hydrological services consultant, that the project could result in inundation of villages by more than five meters of floodwater.
Citing the said study, Villar said that Tricore Solutions Inc. considered in its research the following factors: tides, storm surge and waves, climate change, rainfall and reclamation.
The result of the study indicated that the reclamation project, coupled with rainfall of 450 mm, strong winds with a sustained speed of 200 kph, a maximum tide of 1.44 meters and a one-meter rise above Mean Sea Level (MSL) due to climate change, will submerge 37 villages in Bacoor, 17 in Las Pinas City, and 11 in Paranaque City under 0.15 to 5.12 meters of floodwater.