The government wants to bring back the “old glory” of the Manila Bay through a master plan that will guide future reclamation projects seen spurring more property and transport investments in the area.
The state planning agency National Economic and Development Authority, through Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Ernesto M. Pernia, and the Netherlands Ambassador to the Philippines Marion Derckx on Monday signed a memorandum of understanding for the hiring of consultants to craft the Manila Bay Sustainable Development Master Plan (MBSDMP).
The government of the Kingdom of the Netherlands would shell out a P75-million grant, to which the Philippine government has a counterpart financing of P250 million, to procure consulting services of Dutch as well as local consultants and experts.
According to the project profile, the MBSDMP “aims to provide a comprehensive and supporting institutional framework for the sustainable development of the entire Manila Bay area.”
Also, the master plan would guide future decisions on programs/projects such as coastal protection works, solid waste and water resources management, transport, and reclamation activities to be undertaken within the bay area.
Pernia told a press conference that under the project, the bay would be cleaned up and the area enhanced to bring back the old glory of the Manila Bay.
Neda Undersecretary Rolando G. Tungpalan said that as there was a spate of reclamation proposals, the government wanted the development to be guided by a sustainable development master plan.
Project implementation will be in the next 31 months.
Tungpalan later told reporters that the development of the bay area would bring about enormous opportunities, noting that there was a lot of real property development potentials along the Manila Bay.
Also among the other revenue-generating investments expected to be spurred by the development of the Manila Bay include those in transport, in line with plans to connect it to the Pasig River as well as the Laguna de Bay.
One such proposal being reviewed by the government is a massive P400-billion Manila Bay flood control and expressway proposal backed by conglomerate San Miguel Corp.
The project, involving a combination of flood control barriers and a Metro Manila to Bataan toll road, with a 50-year concession period, would be pursued by its private sector proponent, Coastal Development Consortium. Dubbed the Manila Bay Integrated Flood Control, Coastal Defense and Expressway Project, it would help combat typhoon waves in the northern part of Manila Bay, improve road access and spur economic growth north of the capital district, according to the Department of Public Works and Highways.
It was first proposed by New San Jose Builders Inc. in 2013, before SMC subsidiary San Miguel Holdings Corp. entered in 2015. The proponent’s name at that stage was changed to the current Coastal Development Consortium.
The proposal made little progress in those years, given the Aquino administration’s bias against unsolicited proposals. That changed when the Duterte administration reversed this policy.
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