The ongoing “shoreline protection” along Rizal Boulevard started with the Pantawan across Silliman Hall, then the Pantawan where across Colon St., then another Pantawan near the Press Club Building, and now poised to be extended along the coastline of barangay Tinago towards the mouth of Banica River.
So does the City’s Pantawans qualify as shoreline protection or are they not reclamation projects? But whether they are being truly constructed for shoreline protection or the City is truly reclaiming the sea to make more land, considerations should not only be confined within the economic parameters, but also in the context of environmental protection and conservation, risk disaster-reduction, and climate change mitigation that are science- and evidence-based.
Shore protection works are used to retain or rebuild natural systems (cliffs, dunes, wetlands, and beaches) or to protect man’s artifacts (buildings, infrastructure, etc.) landward of the shoreline.
Rocks and reinforced concrete have been mainly used, while modern methods like seawalls, breakwaters, and jetties have been introduced. Still, the behavior of the surrounding surfaces in the future, and the impact of the changing climate should be considered.
During a recent Multi-Stakeholder Experts Dialogue on Reclamation organized by the Department of Environment & Natural Resource, Sec. Antonia Loyzaga said the 2008 Supreme Court mandamus ruling on Manila Bay must be taken into account in all reclamation projects.
For some time now, the local government’s proposed 174-hectare Smart City Reclamation project along the Rizal Boulevard is being opposed by fisherfolk and civil society groups like the “NO TO 174” aggrupation, along with the experts.
The truth is that the Rizal Boulevard coast is not dead; it is a life-sustaining ecosystem for many fishes, mangroves, and birds.
Thus, the City government was urged to stop the 174-hectare land reclamation project that is threatening the marine resources and the survival of the people in the area.
The area the Mayor wants reclaimed is a Marine-Protected Area, declared as such by laws: RA 8550 (Philippine Fisheries Code of 1998) as amended by RA 10654; RA 7586 (NIPAS Act) as amended by RA 10038; RA 9147 (Wildlife Resources Conservation and Protection Act); and RA 7160 (Local Government Code)as amended, and a local ordinance.
Note that massive, destructive dump-and-fill activities will cause irreversible damage to our marine and coastal ecosystems, destroying its rich biodiversity, adding to the worsening hazards such as flooding, storm surges, land subsidence, and liquefaction.
Silliman University President Dr. Betty Cernol- McCann, during a 2021 forum on the Dumaguete Reclamation Extension Project organized by the Diocese of Dumaguete, had reiterated: “The experts have spoken, and a comprehensive framework for project assessment has been offered. May the sciences, both natural and social, inform all actions related to the proposed shoreline modification project.”
US-based environmental geologist, Moses L. Alcala had explained the geologic processes happening along the coastline of Rizal Boulevard and concluded: “If reclamation extends southward toward the mouth of the Banica River, there is a possibility that the natural movement of the sands can be blocked by the extended reclaimed area, and such blockage at the River may cause more sedimentation along the river bottom, and flooding — which would affect the residential areas along the river banks.”
Why don’t we just LISTEN to the experts AND LEARN?
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