OpinionsEcon 101Worsening floods due to reclamation

Worsening floods due to reclamation

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President Marcos Jr. had said that deforestation and the effects of climate change have fuelled the flooding and landslides, following heavy rain from tropical storms, which hit many areas in the country.

A series of tropical storms has resulted in catastrophic flooding and a massive loss of life in the wake of the incidents, with the Chief Executive instructing government offices to include tree-planting activities in flood control projects.

Floods are often caused by heavy rainfall or a storm surge from a tropical cyclone or tsunami in coastal areas. Owing to inadequate public planning or exposure to bodies of water, there are areas that are more vulnerable to floods wherein lives are lost, belongings are destroyed, and crops are destroyed when rural areas are affected, thus, interfering with economic operations.

Infectious diseases can also spread by standing flood waters, including environmental hazards, and cause casualties.

Citing findings of PamaLaKaya, geological expert Fernando Hicap, chairperson of the fisherfolk group Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas, appealed to the Department of Environment &Natural Resources, amid worsening floods, to stop reclamation projects, declaring: “The recent flooding incidents in parts of Bulacan and Pampanga amid the heavy rains should prompt the DENR to temporarily put on hold ongoing reclamation projects in Manila Bay until the proponents scientifically prove that their projects have not aggravated the flood hazards in these coastal areas; as it can be recalled, it was no less than the renowned geologist Dr. Kelvin Rodolfo who raised the geophysical hazards of specific reclamation projects in Manila Bay.”

“Dr. Rodolfo has identified three geological hazards of reclamation that are relevant to the country’s situation: the danger of land subsidence, the danger of storm surge and strong waves caused by typhoon, and the danger from seismically-induced liquefaction,” Hicap added.

Pamalakaya has warned that if the study is not sufficient for the DENR to rescind environmental permits for reclamation projects, then the projects should be placed on-hold until their proponents can discredit the scientific findings.

Locally, environment advocate Gary Rosales and lawyer Golda Benjamin have presented the facts and legal loopholes on the issue of reclaiming 174 hectares of the sea along the Dumaguete coast, further causing a similar uproar from the community. Serious Dumagueteño environment advocates have since mobilized the community in organizing the “NO to 174” movement to oppose the City administration’s proposed reclamation project along the boulevard.

Nancy Estolloso-Ugsad, chairperson of the People’s Development Council, noted that basic sectors like the fisherfolk and pedicab drivers have since staged various rallies denouncing the Mayor’s reclamation project that threatens their livelihood interests.

The No-to-174 Reclamation movement, even without a clear set of leaders, have since enabled the community to own up the social issues, and act on them.

Given the Dumagueteños’ deep networks in relevant institutions and government agencies, the local concern has been elevated into a national issue, which has proved essential with the surfaced China links of the project.

For the No-to-174 Reclamation movement, the end goal is to stop the project, and to reinforce policies and legal remedies that would permanently ban reclamations in Dumaguete and Negros Oriental, while holding public officials to account. Abangan!

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Author’s email: whelmayap@yahoo.com

 

 

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