By Raymund Antonio
While she was appreciative of government efforts on the Manila Bay cleanup, Vice President Leni Robredo on Saturday warned against the reclamation activities in the area.
“Sana pag-aralan nang maayos, sana pag-aralan nang maayos kung ano iyong pangmatagalang epekto nito, hindi lang sa kalikasan, pero sa Metro Manila in general,” Robredo said.
(I hope its long-term effects would be studied well, not only to the environment, but also to Metro Manila in general.)
“Kasi napakasiksik na, napakasiksik na ng Manila. Makakabuti ba ito sa atin (Because Metro Manila is too crowded, would it be beneficial to us)?” she asked.
The Vice President made the warning during an interview in Naga City, where she graced the inauguration of a new classroom building at the Tabuco Elementary School.
Robredo said the government should look into the long-term impact of the Manila Bay rehabilitation to both the environment and Filipinos.
“Tama iyon, at tayo, naa-appreciate natin, kasi nagpapakita iyon ng political will. Pero sana sa pagsusulong nito, parang, iyong buong picture iyong tinitingnan,” she said.
(That’s right and I appreciate it because that shows political will. But I hope let’s look at the whole picture while pushing for it.)
“Unang una, iyong ano talaga iyong epekto sa environment, ano iyong pangmatagalan na tulong nito sa tao? Iyong pagbuhay ng mga malapit doon, sana sila iyong nabibigyan ng, parang, priority dahil sa rehabilitation,” she added.
(First of all, what is really its effect to the environment, how would it help the people in the long term? The lives of the people there should be given priority due to the rehabilitation.)
According to the Department of Environment and Natural Resources, the rehabilitation will come in three phases that include the relocation of thousands of informal settler families, living along the coastline of Manila Bay.
The others were water quality improvement, rehabilitation, education, and sustainment.
The Vice President is concerned that the rehabilitation of Manila Bay will displace many people similar to what happened in Boracay Island, where several workers lost their jobs.