CLARK FREEPORT — Slated for groundbreaking this December, the proposed Bulacan Aerotropolis in Bulakan, Bulacan has yet to secure an environmental compliance certificate (ECC) from the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR).
The fishers’ group Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (Pamalakaya) noted this yesterday, as it stressed that work on the airport could not start without an ECC despite the signing of contract with the Department of Transportation (DOTr).
“The provincial chapter of Pamalakaya in Bulacan last week learned through their dialogue with the Environmental Management Bureau (Region 3) director Lormelyn Claudio, that there was no ECC issued yet for the SMC’s Bulacan airport to be constructed in Barangay Taliptip, Bulakan town. Rather, the ECC issued by the bureau is only for the 2,500-hectare land development project of a certain Silvertides Holdings,” Pamalakaya said in a statement.
“Why are the DOTr and SMC so excited to announce that the international airport is underway when the project has yet to secure an ECC, one of the most crucial documents needed before a project proceeds to the next stage. They’ve been already counting the chickens before they even hatch,” Pamalakaya chair Fernando Hicap said.
Hicap said “amid the public pronouncements on the status of the airport, SMC has failed to disclose to the public that its groundbreaking project has yet to acquire all the necessary prerequisites and permits. This is a clear manipulation and deception, especially of coastal residents and fishers in Bulacan who will be adversely affected by the project.”
He noted that “more than 700 fishing and coastal families in the town of Bulakan will be displaced to pave way for the aerotropolis, while various species of mangroves will be destroyed and Manila Bay’s ecosystem will further deteriorate due to reclamation.”
The fishers group also questioned the permanent acquisition of Silvertides Holdings of more than 2,000 hectares of fishponds in Barangay Taliptip which, the group said, was a violation of Article III, Section 45 of the Republic Act 8550, otherwise known as the “Philippine Fisheries Code of 1998”, which prevents the foreshore lands and ponds suitable for fishery operations, especially those covered by the fishpond lease agreement (FLA), to be disposed or alienated.
Pamalakaya also said “the SMC airport project is undoubtedly a reclamation project that violates the Supreme Court mandamus to rehabilitate Manila Bay and restore the waters suitable for recreation and fishery resources.”
“The Supreme Court mandamus clearly stated that fishery and aquatic resources are to be developed and marine life restored. Thus, DOTR’s action is direct contempt of this decision, moreover of President Duterte’s Administrative Order 16 and DENR’s Operational Plan for Manila Bay Coastal Strategy,” Hicap noted.