By Nathaniel Melican
MANILA, Philippines—An International consulting firm has assured the public that the planned reclamation of the Parañaque coastal area would help ease flooding in the city and in neighboring Las Piñas, contrary to environmental groups’ claims that the project would worsen flooding in the area.
DHI Water and Environment (S) Pte. Ltd., a Denmark-based consulting firm which specializes in environmental impact management with regional headquarters in Singapore, said the project would help mitigate the effects of rising sea levels.
DHI presented a technical study on the reclamation project, reportedly a joint venture between Las Piñas and Parañaque, and the Philippine Reclamation Authority, during a recent public consultation on the project.
According to the firm, the reclamation project would help reduce flooding from storm surges in Parañaque and Las Piñas as it would involve the dredging of the mouths of the Parañaque, Las Piñas and Zapote rivers.
The removal of a sandbar at the mouth of the Las Piñas river is also expected to improve the water flow during heavy rains, DHI said.
The reclamation project covers 635.14 hectares of water in Manila Bay, and will run through Freedom Island, the last ecological reserve in Metro Manila.
Project proponents are planning to build a business center and a highway on the reclaimed land.
But various environmental groups, under the Save Freedom Island Movement, are opposed to the project, saying that contrary to DHI’s assertions, eight barangays in Parañaque and 14 in Las Piñas will experience worse flooding due to the project.
The group also claimed, the project would affect the livelihood of some 10,000 fishermen and vendors in the area.
Furthermore, the group claimed that the project would destroy Freedom Island.
But this was disputed by DHI, which said that reclamation would instead improve management of the area.