By MANUEL L. MORATÓ
The Problems of Manila Bay
As far back as in the 1960s, President Ferdinand E. Marcos had foreseen the pollution of our rivers and “esteros” that could someday “kill” the existence of the Laguna Lake in Laguna de Bay. He passed a law, Republic Act 4850, an act creating the Laguna Lake Development Authority for all buildings, restaurants, malls and other commercial establishments, etc… This law dictates that before construction of these establishments, they must first acquire a permit of approval before construction.
The pollution of Manila Bay emanates from what President Marcos foresaw would happen in the future. The reclamation was only a portion of what it is today, enough to put up the Cultural Center, Folk Arts Theater, the Coconut Palace and the Philippine International Convention Center (PICC). There was only one hotel at the time, The Westin Philippine Plaza, now Sofitel Philippine Plaza Manila.
But as it is today, the reclamation has spread out ten times or more than what it was before. I need not elaborate. It has become a city in itself!|
Last November 12, 2018, I wrote a letter to the Hon. Jaime “Joey” C. Medina, General Manager of the Laguna Lake Development Authority, addressed to his office at LLDA Bldg., National Ecology Center, East Avenue, Diliman, Quezon City requesting his office for an immediate inspection of an ongoing project that demolished the ancestral home of my parents at 99 Scout Gandia Street, Barangay Sacred Heart, Quezon City, because as we have observed, the Barangay Captain then headed by Alberto Flores issued a permit to demolish way back in October of 2017.
The site is being excavated to this day since April of 2018. It is now very deep for they (I will not mention the group in the meantime) will put up a 21-storey condo/hotel building in a residential area without our permission as part owner, neither the consent of the neighborhood. It was done secretly.
For what I was told, before the construction of a commercial establishment, the permit from the LLDA must be acquired, above all permits. That is so important that President Marcos even specifically cited that cases against violators must be immediately elevated to the Court of Appeals which must decide on any case presented to it with dispatch, immediately, right away, fast…
President Marcos did so, for as he said, when he signed the Republic Act 4850, the RTC Judges are influenced by local officials, most specifically by the mayor and vice mayor as presiding officer of the City Council.
How right he was, so much so, that at the time President Marcos signed the LLDA Law, RA 4850, all right-thinking people at the time referred to said Law as a “stroke of genius.”
I constructed my 4-storey building way before President Marcos signed RA 4850. My building was designed and constructed by Manosa Brothers, now a National Artist. It was the first building along Sampaloc Avenue then. I am not renting any space to anyone. My condos are occupied by my sister, a brother, nephews and housing for my staff. I occupy the penthouse, the entire floor.
To GM Jaime “Joey” C. Medina of LLDA: to this day, I have not received an answer from your office regarding my request for an immediate inspection of the above mentioned project. Time is running out.
I just hope that this most powerful office of the Laguna Lake Development Authority is as active and as powerful as it was before.
We can almost surmise that the problem our President is having on the pollution of Manila Bay and how to solve it might have emanated from the lack of strict supervision on all the structures in the reclamation area today. That’s what those who were appointed to the LLDA before are saying.
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