Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte will now have a direct hand on the country’s planned reclamation projects following the issuance of a government directive that transferred the supervision of similar undertakings to the executive department. Effective immediately, the Philippine Reclamation Authority (PRA) will operate on orders coming from the chief executive.
Prior to the takeover by Duterte, the PRA is a government agency under the National Economic Development Authority (NEDA), which drafts, supervises and implements the economic blueprint of the Philippines.
But with the Executive Order No. 74 released on February 1, the outspoken leader is set to dip his hands on all reclamation projects – proposed, planned and ongoing. According to the Philippine Daily Inquirer, more than 43 of such projects are in the pipeline and likely will see realisation on the get-go provided by the president.
In a statement, the government said the move was intended “to streamline the services of agencies,” involved and make for a more effective implementation.
In line with the new directive, the Office of the President also announced that the PRA Governing Board will be tasked to approve reclamation projects, a role previously reserved for NEDA, but Duterte will still exercise “the authority to modify, amend or nullify the action,” of the same body.
The government decision was made as multi-billion reclamation projects are lined up in Manila Bay and other parts of the country. In the capital alone, The Inquirer has identified 15 projects that either is on the drawing boards or already approved government authorities.
In Manila, for instance, the city mayor, former President Joseph Estrada, is actively backing the reclamation of 419 hectares of land that will be called Horizon Manila, which is estimated to cost roughly $2 billion.
Another planned development is the Pasay Harbor City that will reclaim 265 hectares of land and projected to cost over a billion dollars. Local media reports have indicated that the project has already won the nod of the government, likely due to the chief personality behind the Harbor City – identified as Dennis Uy.
Tipped as a rising tycoon, Uy hails from Davao City, which is the hometown of Duterte, and rumours suggest the Davao businessman enjoys the confidence of the President. Earlier, the same Uy is part of the consortium, which includes China Telecom, that has been tapped by the Philippine government to operate the country’s third telco.