Saturday, November 14, 2009

Lupang Arenda: Revocation of Proclamation

President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo has to do what ought to be done. Showing rare political will, the president asks Vice President Noli de Castro to prepare a draft for the revocation of the proclamation establishing the settlement called Lupang Arenda, even if it would mean displacing multitude of residents. 

Lupand Arenda was established when former President Fidel Ramos issued Proclamation 704 and opened some 200 hectares of public lands in protected wetlands to accommodate the growing number of illegal settlers in Metro Manila. 

The settlement lies at the shorelines of Laguna de Bay and lies along the natural lake water egress to Manila Bay along the Napindan Channel. 

The opened wetlands, separate sources say remain water logged for the rest of the six months in a year, and should not have been opened as residential area in the first place. 

By revoking the Presidential Proclamation 704, the President hopes she could keep these lives away from the dangers posed by rising lake water levels and the flash floods that has washed away dwellings in the area during the recent storms hitting Manila 

During the recent meeting held in Loboc Bohol, the President and her cabinet talked about disaster risk reduction, disaster preparedness and climate change in the wake of the recent disastrous floodings in Manila and surrounding areas.  

At the Full Cabinet meeting held at the Loboc Children's Palace, acted on Vice President's recommendation to clear the area and relocate the residents.  

Recent changes in climate elevated the average lake water level to 12.5 meters, making several dry areas at the Lupang Arenda prone to flooding.     

The patch of land lies along the natural waterway between Laguna Lake and Napindan Channel. 

Recent floodings in Metro Manila areas also pushed more water through the channel, washing out many squatter dwellings, necessitating government intervention to keep residents safe.
Vice President Noli de Castro told the Cabinet that Laguna Lake Development Authority (LLDA) now bans the return of the 60,000 families to Lupang Arenda. Lupang Arenda also blocks the natural pathway between Laguna Lake and Napindan Channel. (PIA)

Bidding for Panglao Island Airpot Project

Bidding for Panglao airport phase one finally opens this month, reports transportation Undersecretary and former city Mayor Jose Torralba in a radio interview.

Torralba, who is manning the airport project management office here said the multi-sectoral consultative meeting held last Tuesday at the Bohol Beach Club was the last procedural requirement needed to seal the fate of the airport's initial construction phase.

The National Economic Development Authority (NEDA) Investment Coordinating Committee initially nodded to the project even after consultants proposed drastic changes leading to major project funding realignments.

With the changes, the entire project bloated to nearly double its initial cost, needing the NEDA ICC nod anew to use the early appropriations of P4.2B to fund the initial phase of the airport project.

The project go-signal was on the condition that Bohol provincial government conducts another multisectoral consultation to address ecological or environmental issues, Usec Torralba explained..

Moreover, the preconditions also include that Manila International Airport Authority (MIAA) conducts value engineering of the project and that budget cover be issued to the Department of Transportation and Communications by the Department of Budget and Management.

The recent multi-sectoral meeting in Panglao churned out the resolutions, which would engage the NEDA to finally green-light phase one of the project.
Phase one of the project comprises the construction of the airport's 2.5 kilometer runway and its lighting facilities.  
This phase also uses up the funds NEDA has earlier earmarked for the entire project, explains Gov. Erico Aumentado, weeks back.
From the initial P4.27 billion, the total total project now costs P7.54 billion.

The project cost blew up due to increase of item prices and quantity, design modification and additional acquisition of 14.5 hectares of land.

The Panglao airport project aims to develop a new airport facility in Panglao Island, Bohol to comply with domestic and international standards for operational safety and efficiency.

It also envisions to open up the entire region (Region VII) to more economic activities and to enhance the tourism potential of Bohol province. (PIA)