South Manila residents oppose reclamation project

MANILA – Hundreds of residents of Parañaque and Las Piñas showed their opposition to the Manila Bay Coastal Reclamation project through reenactment of Christ’s Way of the Cross.

In the Philippines, a predominantly Catholic nation, the faithful observe traditional religious activities every Lenten season.

Dubbed as the prayer offering to protect nature, in defense of patrimony and people’s socio-economic rights, they participants re-enacted “Jesus’s journey to Calvary through parallel reflections on the hardships, injustice and suffering experienced by the surrounding fishing, vending and residential communities.”

The participants gathered at the St. Andrew’s cathedral plaza this early morning and passed through 13 stations along the coastal communities, stopping at each station for a prayer and cultural performance depicting the sentiments of the local residents.

Parish priests of the Vicariate of Sta. Rita de Cascia and members of the Alliance for Stewardship and Authentic Progress (A.S.A.P) joined the local residents.

In a statement, the A.S.A.P. said the proposed reclamation of 635.14 hectares of the coastal area around the Freedom Island will “endanger the healing ecosystems of Manila Bay, block the natural waterways and will cause flood and immeasurable damage to the lives and properties of the residents of district 1 of Parañaque and of 14 villages in Las Piñas.”

The A.S.A.P. also said the project will cause economic displacement.

The group said the project was initiated without transparency and that the permits and clearances were issued in violation of existing laws and guidelines to protect the environment.

Text and photos by RONALYN V. OLEA

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