Manila Bay: Rehabilitation or Reclamation?

Residents of Freedom Island help Greenpeace and other NGO's in the coastal clean-up. (Image from:

Residents of Freedom Island help Greenpeace and other NGO’s in the coastal clean-up. (Image from:

Physical rehabilitation of Manila Bay is not possible if political, social and psychological rehabilitation of human beings within and around the area is not done. Further, no serious rehabilitation is not possible if new reclamation projects are implemented. We need to understand and accept the fact that the primary concern of the Supreme Court mandamus is environmental.

Given the economic significance of Manila Bay in which a sensitive and strategic environmental intervention is necessary, legislation may be needed to strengthen the inter-agency body and the implementation of its plans with penal provisions.

There are 29 municipalities and cities within Manila Bay Area – hence, there are 29 independent Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Plans, 29 Local Climate Change Action Plans, 29 Ecological Solid Waste Management Plans, 29 Comprehensive Land Use Plans, and so on and so forth. Further, there 29 local chief executives, not counting the governors of concerned provinces, deciding on local issues and concerns. This is a huge challenge to harmonize respective plans.

Ultimately, authorities must be asked: rehabilitation or reclamation? Seriously, reclamation is pollution in itself. Manila Bay rehabilitation is idiocy if new reclamation projects are allowed because this is not consistent with the very onus of the mandamus which is environmental protection.