ACT-CIS Party-list Representative Erwin Tulfo has filed a resolution urging the House of Representatives to conduct an inquiry on the status of the Manila Bay reclamation projects after several concerns on national security were raised.
Tulfo echoed the sentiments of Speaker Ferdinand Martin G. Romualdez, who also wants to ensure national security, transparency, environmental sustainability and the best interest of the public regarding the Manila Bay reclamation projects.
“I was informed by the Speaker that he was concerned after hearing several news reports regarding national security issues in the reclamation area as he remained committed to safeguarding our nation’s security and to uphold our territorial integrity and postering peaceful cooperation in the region,” Tulfo said in a statement.
Even Speaker Romualdez is wondering who is in charge of keeping an eye on all these Chinese vessels involved right now in the reclamation.
“Our Speaker has received reports that the Chinese crew of these vessels come to our shores in Pasay and Manila at night,” Tulfo said.
House Resolution No. 1171 filed by Tulfo along with two other ACT-CIS Partylist Reps. Edvic Yap and Jocelyn Tulfo, states that the ongoing reclamation activities in the Manila Bay area “have raised concerns among citizens and various stakeholders.”
Tulfo noted that the reclamation projects may pose danger on the Philippines’ security after the US government recently raised concerns that the reclamation projects have ties to the China Communications Construction Co., which was cited by the World Bank and the Asian Development Bank for engaging in fraudulent business practices.
“I have read in several news reports that one of the companies involved in the reclamation project in Manila bat right now is a construction firm from Mainland China, the China Construction Company (CCC). And this same construction company, the news reports added, was also involved in the construction of an airbase and naval base of China in the West Philippine Sea.
“Ang tanong ko po, may ahensya ba tayo na chine-check ang mga barko na nakaparada diyan sa Manila bay ngayon na galing sa ibang bansa kung ito ba ay lehitimong dredging vessel o baka naman mga militia vessels na galing sa West Philippine Sea?”
“We want to be sure that when we wake up the next day, Manila bay is still part of the republic of the Philippines and not again in the hands of another nation,” Tulfo said.
The resolution also stated: “The ongoing land reclamation may offer potential economic benefits and development opportunities, it also raises concerns about its environmental impact, such as the alteration of coastal processes, and the possible effects on water quality and marine biodiversity.”
Tulfo immediately clarified that he is not against any development or growth in the country, especially if it is beneficial to the people.
“However, if that development will kill the livelihood of people living in that area, or shuts down business, or disturbs the environment, or even violates certain local government codes, will it sill be beneficial for the people? The reclamation of Manila Bay right now will certainly leave some sectors of our society impoverished,” he said.
“According to the Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusan ng Mamalakaya ng Pilipinas or PAMALAKAYA, a national association of fisherfolk, thousands of fishermen from the National Capital region (NCR) and in Region 3 and 4 will be displaced because of the project,” Tulfo added.