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At Large

‘Dump-and-fill’ to destroy Manila Bay

/ 04:06 AM November 06, 2019

Who knew that in the wake of the series of earthquakes that hit Central Mindanao, a typhoon of angry and indeed livid exchanges would follow between the DDS and those who disagree with them?

Not normally averse to heaping verbal abuse and malicious insinuations against non-believers, fanatical followers of the President have suddenly turned ultrasensitive and thin-skinned. They’re now taking umbrage at any hint or suggestion that the natural calamities are but natural consequences of their leader’s taunting of the higher power, or that in their apostasy, they fully deserve the punishment.

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This is, of course, utter nonsense. Earthquakes and other natural calamities have no capacity to choose their targets, nor nurse any malice against one party or another. But those subject to the Duterte troll army’s regular bashing, shaming and muckraking through the years could not help but make a connection between the abuse they suffered and the punishment they may have felt was due their abusers.

Anyway, apologies have been offered and kind souls from all sides of the political spectrum have gotten over their hurt and rushed to the aid of the earthquake survivors. Let’s start taking care of each other and healing the wounds caused by political differences. We have no other choice.

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Touted as the long-awaited solution to the country’s aviation woes, the proposed New Manila International Airport to be constructed in Bulacan may cause more long-term damage than its proponents admit.

Despite not having passed any environmental impact study, the proposed airport is well on its way to construction, supported by the relevant government agencies who believe it holds the key to solving the decades-old problem of airport and runway congestion in Naia.

But, says Vito Fernandez, a geoarcheologist consulting with Oceana, an international NGO concerned with protecting the world’s oceans, the planned airport poses more risks than benefits to the environment and the people who depend on its good health.

At risk in the face of the airport construction which requires the reclamation of the land beneath Manila Bay off Bulacan, says Fernandez, are the food security and self-sufficiency not just of Bulakeños but of the rest of Luzon, with Manila Bay being a premier fishing ground. Also, at risk is the quality of life of residents not just in Bulacan but also in Cavite, Parañaque, Pasay, Manila, Malabon, Navotas and up to Pampanga and Bataan who face such problems as pollution and traffic congestion with the construction of the airport and related complexes.

Reclamation of the bay, adds Fernandez, exposes the vulnerable population to natural hazards like flooding (already a phenomenon in some Bulacan towns during high tide), and to “slow onset” disasters like ground subsidence.

Posits Oceana: “The dump-and-fill (their preferred term for reclamation) projects are in pursuit of economic and infrastructure facelift at the expense of the environment and the safety and livelihood of the people. Creating land where there was once only water bring irreversible destruction to marine habitats and make us vulnerable to disasters.” Their call: “Stop the dumping and filling of our seas. Stop dump-and-fill projects. Save Manila Bay.”

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“Shop the World, Show You Care” is the theme of this year’s International Bazaar, an annual event organized by the International Bazaar Foundation in cooperation with the Department of Foreign Affairs, the Diplomatic and Consular Corps and the Spouses of the Heads of Mission.

The pre-Christmas bazaar takes place on Nov. 24 at the PICC Forums 1, 2 and 3 at the CCP Complex. Maria Lourdes Locsin, wife of Foreign Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr., says “the bazaar will showcase the finest items from 40 different countries together with the Philippines’ best community-based products.”

Proceeds of the bazaar will benefit local charities, including 41 scholars of colleges and universities, charitable and development organizations, and skills training institutions.

Entrance tickets are sold at P150 while donor cards cost P250. These are sold at Tesoro’s Store on Arnaiz Ave., Makati City; at Special Projects Unit, 6th floor, DFA Building; and at the PICC gate on the day of the bazaar.

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TAGS: At Large, Manila Bay rehabilitation, Mindanao earthquakes, New Manila International Airport, Rina Jimenez-David
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