The City Council of Manila continues to support its joint venture project with the Manila Goldcoast Development Corporation that will lead to the construction of the Manila Solar City — a 148 hectares reclamation project at the back of the Philippine Navy and Manila Yacht Club 600 meters towards the bay.
Manila Vice Mayor Isko Moreno led the City Council in reaffirming its support for the reclamation project which will provide an additional estimated P4 Billion in annual real estate taxes.
Moreover, the planned reclamation project is aimed at drawing more foreign tourists to Manila. Once built, the Manila Solar City will have a port facility for international luxury ship cruises and will link up Manila to luxury cruise tourism which is a multi-billion dollar tourism business.
Moreno disclosed recently in news reports that the City of Manila has outstanding debts amounting to P 3.5 Billion, hobbling the city’s capacity to provide services and pay for its bills.
The Vice Mayor also pointed out the imminent possibility of the City Hall becoming powerless, explaining that the Manila Electric Company was demanding payment for a P598 Million debt left by the previous city administration.
Opposition to the Manila Bay Reclamation project has ceased after the Court of Appeals junked a petition to stop another reclamation project south of the proposed site of Manila Solar City. The petition filed at the Court of Appeals posed arguments quite similar to the arguments raised by those protesting against the Manila Solar City.
In May, the Court of Appeals junked the petition filed by then senatorial candidate Cynthia Villar which was filed in March last year that sought to stop a Manila Bay reclamation project that could allegedly cause catastrophic flooding in Metro Manila.
In a 48-page decision penned by Associate Justice Apolinario Bruselas, the CA Third Division denied Villar’s plea against the Las Piñas-Parañaque Coastal Bay project for lack of merit and for failing to prove the reclamation project would trigger massive environmental damage.
“No credible, competent, and reliable evidence had been presented to support the allegations that the proposed coastal by project would cause environmental damage of such magnitude as to prejudice the lives, health or properties of the residents of Parañaque and Las Piñas. These apprehensions had been disproved by objective, expert and scientific studies of reputable entities with vast international experience,” the CA Division said.
The court said Villar failed to present evidence that would show a “causal link” between the project and the “catastrophic environmental damage feared (by the petitioner).”
“The credibility, reliability and objectivity of the scientific studies presented by respondent AllTech and the totality of the evidence presented leave very little occasion to ponder that the constitutional right of the people to a balanced and healthful ecology hangs in the balance because of the reclamation project,” the court added.
Justice Rebecca De Guia-Salvador and Samuel Gaerlan concurred with the decision of Bruselas.
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