By Marvyn N. Benaning
A LEGISLATOR, the fishermen’s alliance Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (Pamalakaya) and 11 other groups have tagged the P14-billion reclamation project on Manila Bay a huge scam.
Party-list Rep. Teodoro Casiño of Bayan Muna and his allies have asked the Supreme Court (SC) to allow them to intervene in the case filed by former Las Piñas Rep. Cynthia Villar to stop the implementation of the project.
Apart from Casiño and Pamalakaya, the other petitioners-intervenors include Party-list Rep. Rafael Mariano of Anakpawis, the Koalisyon Kontra Kumbersyon ng Manila Bay (KKK-Manila Bay), the Bacoor-based Alyansa fisherfolk group, Pamalakaya-Bulacan chapter, the Sagip Manila Bay Movement (SMBM), the Save Freedom Island Movement (SFIM), the Center for Environmental Concerns (CEC-Philippines), the Kalikasan-People’s Network for the Environment, Earth Island Philippines and the Alliance for Stewardship and Authentic Progress (Asap).
The P14-billion Las Piñas-Parañaque reclamation project, involving 203.43 hectares of the Parañaque coast and 431.71 hectares of Las Piñas territory, is major threat to the livelihood of small fisherfolk who subsist by fishing in Manila Bay.
What has earned the ire of Casiño and the other petitioners were media reports that the main project implementor, All-Tech Contractors Inc., is not registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission and has never submitted any financial statement to the SEC.
The main proponent of the project is the Philippine Reclamation Authority (PRA) headed by Peter Anthony Abaya of Cavite.
Casiño and Pamalakaya expressed surprise why the PRA and the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) were doing business with All-Tech in spite of the fact that it is not registered with the SEC.
“The Filipino public is hereby informed that the P14-billion land reclamation project in Las Piñas and Parañaque is a grand scam, highly anomalous and certified illegal,” Pamalakaya National Chairman and Anakpawis Party-list group Vice Chairman Fernando Hicap.
The Pamalakaya leader added: “Imagine, a P14-billion reclamation project is awarded by the Philippine government to a company that does not exist physically and materially speaking. On the contrary, the company only exists in the minds of people with sinister, corrupt and evil agenda.”
Worse, the corporate address of All-Tech Contractors—1295 G. Araneta Avenue, Quezon City, next to Quezon Institute and Puregold Complex, turned out to be non-existent, and that two of the three listed All Tech Inc. telephone numbers have been disconected, with the third one connected to a residence.
Hicap said Congress should investigate this matter, that appears to be more than an occasion for graft.
Pamalakaya Vice Chairman Salvador France said President Aquino should immediately revoke the contract entered into by the national government through PRA with All Tech Contractors Inc. and should instruct the Department of Justice (DOJ) to investigate the involvement of PRA headed by Abaya and Secretary Ramon Paje of the DENR for awarding the contract to dubious developer and for giving a environmental compliance certificate to a reclamation company that is non-existent.
France said they furnished a copy of the 14-page petition filed before the SC on Thursday to All Tech Contractors Inc.
“We are sure, the High Tribunal will return the copy to us because the copy is sent to a fake address used by the company which was commissioned by PRA to develop the 635- hectare Las Piñas-Parañaque reclamation project,” France said.
“We strongly urge President Aquino to declare null and void the P14-billion contract his office sealed with All Tech Contractors Inc. The Office of the President and the PRA made a big mistake in dealing with and in granting their seals of approval to All Tech Contractors to undertake reclamation projects along Manila Bay,” said Pamalakaya.
(With Jonathan Mayuga)
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Birds, politician, powerful businessman embroiled in land reclamation
AllTech Contractors Inc. – proponent of the Manila Bay Reclamation project – on Wednesday said business tycoon Ramon Ang is not involved in the controversial P14-billion reclamation works.“He is not part of AllTech,” the company’s project manager Peter Suchianco said in an interview with reporters.
Ang is president and chief operating officer of San Miguel Corp. as well as flag carrier Philippine Airlines.
However, Suchianco, who was a consultant of diversified conglomerate San Miguel, revealed that AllTech had been approaching several businessmen to invest in the company and shore up its P50-million start-up capital.
Suchiano made the statement after environmental group Wild Bird Club of the Philippines implicated Ang in the Manila Bay Reclamation project.
“We think – instead of blaming bird – a more interesting story is figuring out the connections between Ang, Amari and AllTech and how is this 20-year old story about the grandmother of all scams just refuses to dies,” the group claimed on Wednesday in a separate press conference.
Ang earlier remarked that the Philippines may miss the opportunity for a category status upgrade from the US Federal Aviation Authority because of the bird sanctuary, adding that bird strikes pose a threat to airliners landing and taking off at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport.
Still, the Wild Bird Club argued that birds from the sanctuary were not the principal source of bird strikes but domesticated pigeons.
AllTech, Philippine Reclamation Authority, and Department of Environment and Natural Resources are respondents to the Writ of Kalikasan filed by former Congresswoman Cynthia Villar and residents of Las Piñas. The case is now pending before the Court of Appeals
In her petition, Villar claimed the reclamation would not only threaten the wildlife in the area but also worsen the flooding in Las Piñas, Parañaque and Bacoor which would serve as the catch basin for the reclaimed area along Roxas Boulevard.
The first hearing of the environmental case was postponed after AllTech failed to provide the environmental impact study of the P14-billion reclamation project.
Succeeding hearings were set for October 10,12, 17 and 19.
Meanwhile, former solicitor Frank Chavez, Villar’s legal counsel, tagged AllTech as a ‘fictitious’ company.
“Itong AllTech was capitalized only for P50 million, the proposed project is 14 billion… Mukhang walang permanent address itong AllTech at saka mukhang fictitious ito,” Chavez said.
Chavez challenged AllTech to reveal its investors. “Sinasabi nila na eventually magkakaroon sila ng financial investors, fine, but kailangan somehow along the way, you have to declare who these people are. Otherwise, eh mayroon kang tinatago.”
Asked if he knows a possible connection between Ang and AllTech, he said, “Sa totoo lang, wala akong alam kung pumapasok siya dito o hindi… in all fairness.”
However, he noted that Ang is a director of Cyberbay City Corporation, the former owner of PEA-Amari, the former developers of the controversial reclamation project. — VS, GMA News
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Congress asked to investigate P14-billion reclamation project
By Charlie V. Manalo
The Daily Tribune
One of the 12 organizations opposed to the ambitious P14-billion Las Piñas-Parañaque Coastal Bay reclamation project yesterday urged lawmakers to investigate the controversial project entered into by the Philippine Reclamation Authority (PRA) with All Tech Contractors Inc. which, the groups claimed, is non-existent.
In a press statement, fisherfolk group Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (Pamalakaya) national chairman and Anakpawis party-list vice chairman Fernando Hicap urged Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile, House Speaker Sonny Belmonte and other lawmakers to cross party lines and conduct a joint or separate congressional inquiry which the fisherfolk leader billed as the grandmother of all reclamation scams in the country.
“Imagine, a P14-billion reclamation project is awarded by the Philippine government to a company which does not exist, physically and materially speaking. On the contrary, the company only exists in the minds of people with sinister, corrupt and evil agenda. This is terrible, extremely incorrigible,” Hicap said.
Pamalakaya and Anakpawis party-list learned that All Tech Contractors Inc. is not registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission and has not submitted financial report to the SEC.
The groups said they learned it from a business column titled Cocktales of Victor Agustin for Interaksyon TV, the online news of TV 5.
“P14 billion is P14 billion hard-earned taxpayers’ money and it will be soon lost to a government client which does not exist at all. We hope the Senate and the House of Representatives will do their investigation on this high crime of corruption,” Hicap added.
Pamalakaya vice chairman Salvador France said President Aquino should immediately revoke the contract entered into by the national government through PRA with All Tech Contractors Inc.
“Malacañang through the general manager of PRA, Mr. Peter Anthony Abaya, is dealing with reclamation syndicate like All Tech Contractors Inc.
The Office of the President, the PRA and the shadowy group of All Tech Contractors Inc. must be stopped from pursuing this first-rate crime of corruption and betrayal of public trust,” he said.
The Pamalakaya leader said last week his group and 11other groups filed a motion before the Supreme Court (SC) urging the high tribunal to allow them to intervene in the reclamation case questioned by former Las Piñas Rep. Cynthia Villar and more than 300,000 residents of the city. France said they had furnished a copy of the 14-page petition filed before the SC last Thursday to All Tech Contractors Inc.
“We are sure, the high tribunal will return the copy to us because the copy is sent to a fake address used by the developer firm which was commissioned by PRA to develop the 635- hectare Las Piñas-Parañaque reclamation project,” France predicted.
Aside from Pamalakaya, the petitioners-intervenors include Anakpawis and Bayan Muna party-list led by Reps. Rafael Mariano and Teodoro Casiño, respectively, the Koalisyon Kontra Kumbersyon ng Manila Bay the Bacoor-based Alyansa fisherfolk group, Pamalakaya-Bulacan chapter, the Sagip Manila Bay Movement, the Save Freedom Island Movement, the Center for Environmental Concerns, the Kalikasan-People’s Network for the Environment, Earth Island Philippines and the Alliance for Stewardship and Authentic Progress. They argued that the Las Piñas-Parañaque reclamation project involving 203.43 hectares of Parañaque coastal territory and 431.71 hectares of Las Piñas territory is major threat to the livelihood of small fisherfolk sourcing their subsistence from Manila Bay.
“The source of this collective fear is based on the experience of small fishermen, mussel growers and shell gatherers beginning 2010 upon the completion of R-1 Extension Expressway Project which is now known as Cavite Expressway or Cavitex. Two years after the completion of the solid-based road infrastracture done through massive reclamation of not less than 5,000 hectares of foreshore waters along Bacoor Bay, a dramatic decline in fish capture and aquaculture production took place,” the petitioners said.