MANILA, Philippines – A world-class commercial, residential and tourism center may soon rise in the middle of Manila Bay.
Manila Solar City, which spans 148 hectares, is a reclamation project that will feature a park and a Boracay-inspired man-made beach. It will also have a terminal for international cruise ships, which are expected to bring between 2,500 to 5,000 tourists every week.
“That (Manila Solar City) will be a big boost to the Ermita area, surrounding areas,” Edmundo Lim, vice chairman of Manila GoldCoast Development Corp., said.
The developer said the project will create 100,000 jobs for construction workers. Once construction is completed, another 500,000 workers will be hired for operations.
“Right now, the study shows that Manila has the most number of jobless people. A hungry stomach knows no law. So we can eliminate criminality,” Manila Mayor Joseph Estrada said.
The developer said the government will earn P17 billion in tax revenues from the project every year. Some P10 billion worth of real estate taxes will go to Manila city government.
“This is one way of answering the fiscal situation of the city, wherein Mayor Erap iniwan sa kanya ang city na may P3.5 billion na utang,” Manila Vice Mayor Isko Moreno said.
But some environmental groups are opposed to the planned Manila Solar City.
“Reclamation has proven many times to cause flooding… Lalong babagal yun daloy ng tubig mula sa waterways ng Metro Manila papunta sa Manila Bay,” Ivan Henares, president of the Heritage Conservation Society Youth, said.
But Manila GoldCoast’s Lim said they will design Manila Solar City in a way that it will not cause flooding in the city.
“We’re going to make sure there’s no baha. We call it disaster-resilient. The way it’s designed (it) becomes like a breakwater yung mga storm surge nababawasan,” he said.
Despite environmental groups’ concerns, Estrada is optimistic the project will be approved by President Aquino.