PRA WELCOMES NEW EXECUTIVE ORDER DELEGATING TO THE NEDA BOARD THE POWER OF THE PRESIDENT TO APPROVE RECLAMATION PROJECTS
The Board of Directors of the Philippine Reclamation Authority (PRA) welcomes Executive Order No. 146 delegating to the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) Board the power of the President to approve reclamation projects. As early as 01 November 2013, the PRA, through a published statement, mentioned that “reclamation projects would need to be endorsed by PRA to the NEDA Board for approval.”
The EO formalizes the current approval protocol being followed by PRA. The President of the Philippines sits as Chairperson of the NEDA Board. It will be recalled that in 2006, through EO 543, the power of the President to approve reclamation projects was delegated to the Philippine Reclamation Authority.
An approval by the NEDA Board assures that every reclamation initiative is coordinated and integrated in the national and regional levels of development planning. In parallel with the PRA’s stringent 5-stage approval process and due diligence in projects that are crucial to development, this EO will guarantee that every approved reclamation project will be consistent with established national priorities of the government.
The EO reiterated the need to secure an Environmental Compliance Certificate (ECC) consistent with the policy of the PRA that project proponents must secure an ECC before any reclamation project can proceed.
With this current policy directive, the PRA can now focus on evaluating project proposals, conducting technical studies, seeking clearances from other government agencies and ensuring that reclamation projects are advantageous to the National Government and consequently, to the people. These activities form part of the PRA 5-stage approval process that a reclamation project undergoes to ensure that environmental, social and economic concerns of stakeholders are considered.
The PRA would like to clarify that proposed projects for reclamation do not amount to a scale as high as 38,000 hectares. Various sectors who are frequently quoting the National Reclamation Plan (NRP) may have mistaken the document as an implementation plan. The NRP is a blueprint of potential reclamation sites in the Philippines for the guidance of proponents. It is more in the nature of a “depth chart” (indicating average water depths in various coastal areas) and a planning tool that will serve as reference for future reclamation proposals.
PHILIPPINE RECLAMATION AUTHORITY BOARD OF DIRECTORS