By Ferdinand Patinio

INFRA PROJECT. A new commercial center will rise at the Pasay City reclamation area as construction works continue on Monday (April 24, 2023). Various groups, however, are concerned about the ill effects of such projects on the environment, like flooding, destruction of mangrove forests and displacement of fishing communities. (PNA file photo by Avito Dalan)

MANILA – The Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) supported President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr.’s order to suspend various reclamation projects in the country.

Bishop Jose Colin Bagaforo, president of CBCP’s social arm Caritas Philippines, said Tuesday the suspension of 22 reclamation projects in the country is a “welcome development.”

“Reclamation is not the solution to the problems of Metro Manila. We need to invest in sustainable development that will benefit all Filipinos, not just a few wealthy individuals,” he said in a statement.

The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) is currently conducting an assessment of the reclamation projects.

At the same time, the Catholic prelate urged Marcos to issue an executive order banning all reclamation projects, not only in Manila Bay but across the country.

The Catholic prelate added that they support the anti-reclamation efforts of civil society organizations and people’s organizations.

“We are deeply concerned about the negative impacts of reclamation projects on the environment, the economy, and the people,” he said.

“Reclamation projects displace fisherfolks and coastal urban communities, destroy coastal ecosystems, and contribute to food insecurity,” Bagaforo added. (PNA)