By Elijah Joseph C. Tubayan, November 26, 2018; Business World


Image Credit to Philippine Star

THE NATIONAL Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) and the Philippine Reclamation Authority (PRA) signed a joint memorandum circular on Thursday firming up supervision of reclamation project proposals before they are approved.

The directive aims “to foster heightened compliance with the approval of reclamation projects” and “prevent indiscriminate illegal reclamation activities which lack prior NEDA Board approval.”

It states that “completed staff work by the PRA and the corresponding PRA Board endorsement, through a PRA Board Resolution, of a reclamation project and reclamation component of a development or infrastructure project should be obtained before submission to the NEDA Board Investment Coordination Committee (ICC) and/or NEDA Board, as the case may be.”

It also noted the “strict implementation” of Executive Order 146, series of 2013, which delegates to the NEDA Board, chaired by President Rodrigo R. Duterte, the power to approve reclamation projects.

The joint memorandum circular was signed by Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Ernesto M. Pernia and PRA General Manager and Chief Executive Officer Janilo E. Rubiato.

The joint circular will be endorsed to the Office of the President for notation, NEDA said.

Mr. Pernia said in a statement that the new circular will balance economic and environmental interests in the implementation of reclamation projects.

“Reclamation projects can be good or bad for sustainable development depending on how, and to what ends, they are done. So we must strike a balance between the twin goals of economic growth and environmental sustainability,” Mr. Pernia said.

In 2017, the Davao city government cancelled the P40-billion Davao Sasa port reclamation project due to negative environmental implications. However it is seeking the revival of the project for 2019.

There is also a proposal from Davao-based businessman Dennis A. Uy for a P62-billion reclamation project in Pasay City.

Solar Group’s Wilson Y. Tieng and the SM Group’s Henry T. Sy, Sr. have also submitted an unsolicited proposal for a $12-billion airport in Sangley, Cavite, which involves land reclamation work. — Elijah Joseph C. Tubayan