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‘Hidden agenda’ in Manila Bay rehabilitation

05:02 AM May 21, 2019

The rehabilitation of Manila Bay started on Jan. 27 and involved 5,000 volunteers. Is this a change that would benefit the world? Yes. Is it already safe for swimming? Not yet. However, that’s a great start in turning this new year’s resolution into reality.

But, as later reports would reveal, it turns out that this rehabilitation has a hidden agenda, with plans of turning Manila Bay into a commercialized recreational center. The idea may be good for economic growth, but it will just add more harm to both the country and
the environment.

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The coliform in Manila Bay has reached 333 million mpn, more than the 100 mpn for it to be safe for swimming and consumption. The bay’s main pollutants are the wastes from commercial and industrial facilities in the area. If we add more establishments there, the worst may happen.

I oppose the reclamation of the bay because it will not benefit the country’s economy, only the prosperous few. Does this project help street children live a healthy and comfortable lifestyle? No. Will this project help build shelters for underprivileged Filipinos? No. Will this project help solve poverty? Certainly not. Why not give priority to helping indigents rather than stuffing businessmen’s already deep pockets? There are things that need more focus than just building more unnecessary establishments along an already deteriorating natural resource.

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Instead of commercializing, why not practice the act of conserving? Manila Bay has outstanding land and water features and just needs proper treatment. Instead of new buildings, why not build playgrounds for children? Why not promote activities that are good for the health in the area? The government can organize fun runs or offer free bike rides—these activities do not harm the environment. Instead of going commercial, why not develop Manila Bay into an eco-friendly recreational area?
We also have to look ahead. Will this campaign of cleaning up the bay be sustained throughout the next few years? Let’s hope the government picks the right path for one of the country’s most vital bodies of water.

JOHN ALCANCE,
johnjeeaalcance@gmail.com

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TAGS: Inquirer letters, John Alcance, Manila Bay rehabilitation
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