DENR’s second multistakeholder experts dialogue on reclamation slated for July 17
The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) is set to hold the second multistakeholder experts dialogue on reclamation on July 17 in Quezon City, in a bid to gather more inputs for the ongoing review and enhancement of existing policies pertaining to reclamation projects.
DENR Secretary Antonia Loyzaga will keynote the dialogue which aims to identify local and international good practices on reclamation that prioritize the public good for net positive outcomes, and to enable dialogue among stakeholders to get their insights on the issue of reclamation.
The upcoming dialogue is a follow through of the first-ever DENR reclamation forum held in the city of Manila last May 8, wherein various stakeholders started identifying gaps and entry points on enhancing existing policies on dump-and-fill activities.
During the May 8 forum, Loyzaga underscored the need to develop an evidence-based impact assessment of the ecological and socio-economic impacts of reclamation.
Loyzaga said the scientific basis for doing the assessment needs to be established, and it must be cumulative in order to truly strike a balance between development and potential adverse environmental impacts of reclamation projects.
The upcoming multistakeholder dialogue will start with presentations on the global practice on reclamation, featuring experts from the United States Army Corps of Engineers, Deltares, and Japan Embassy.
A panel discussion on key issues on reclamation with speakers from the Philippine Reclamation Authority; DENR; Resources, Environment and Economics Center for Studies; and the Philippine Ports Authority will follow.
Also invited to the dialogue are representatives from the Embassy of Belgium, Embassy of the United States, Embassy of the Netherlands, national government agencies, local government units, and the private sector.
The recommendations gathered from the first forum include the formulation of a science- and evidence-informed, clear and harmonized/streamlined policy and procedures for reclamation; the need to align national and local plans on reclamation, and enhance the process for issuance of Environmental Compliance Certificate and Area Clearance; requiring conduct of scientific studies to determine the environmental and socioeconomic impacts of reclamation; and to consider the mitigation hierarchy.
Also recommended was the finalization of a national policy on marine spatial planning; joint undertaking of baseline studies for change-detection and scenario-building and the cumulative assessment of the entire project; and ensuring inclusivity, transparency, and accountability in the reclamation process.
Panelists and reactors in the technical and governance discussions included scientists, academicians, government officials, and representatives of civil society organizations.
The forum series is expected to come up with a set of policy recommendations that will support the review and enhancement of the country’s policies related to reclamation.
These policies include Executive Order No. 74, series of 2019, which transferred the PRA to the Office of the President and delegated to the PRA Governing Board the power of the President to approve reclamation projects, and its IRR under PRA Administrative Order No. 2019-4; DENR Administrative Order (DAO) No. 2003-30 or the Implementing Rules and Regulations for the Philippine Environmental Impact Assessment Statement System; and DAO No. 2022-11 or the updated guidelines on the issuance of area clearance for reclamation projects and proclamation/special patents over reclaimed lands. ###