Philippines suspends reclamation projects after US criticism

Manila Bay (Photo by Paolo Syiaco on Unsplash)
Almost all land reclamation projects under way in Manila Bay have been put on hold pending a government review, the Philippine Inquirer reports.

The move came a week after the US embassy told local media that it was concerned about the environmental impact of the projects, and about the involvement of China Communications (CCCC), a contractor the US has sanctioned in the past.

Ferdinand Marcos Jr, the president of the Philippines, made the announcement on Monday.  “They’re all suspended, he said. “All reclamations are under review. Only one is proceeding because it has already been reviewed. There are many problems. We saw many projects that are not being conducted properly.”

Some 22 reclamation projects are planned for the bay, half of which have begun on site. The president did not say which of them had been allowed to proceed.

Maria Antonia Yulo-Loyzaga, Philippines’ environment secretary, said an international team of experts would be assembled this month to conduct a “cumulative impact assessment” of the Manila Bay schemes.

Environmental groups on Wednesday hailed Marcos’ decision as a victory against destructive reclamation projects around Manila Bay, one of the few scenic spots in the nation’s capital famous for its sunset view.

CCCC is also a controversial company in the Philippines, since it was involved in building islands in areas of the South China Sea that are claimed by Manila.  

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