San Miguel Corp. issued a clarification regarding its P735 billion New Manila International Airport (NMIA), emphasizing that it is being erected on existing low-lying land, historically prone to heavy flooding and formerly transformed into commercial fishponds.
Ramon S. Ang, president and CEO of SMC, pointed out that the massive international gateway venture in Bulacan, sanctioned by Republic Act 11506, does not involve land reclamation activities within the Manila Bay vicinity.
Official map from NAMRIA in 1995 that shows the site is land, an island surrounded by rivers.
Ang’s statement comes amid ongoing discussions surrounding reclamation projects in Manila Bay.
Contrary to reclamation efforts, Ang said that the project entails the revitalization of pre-existing land, which had experienced inundation due to factors such as flooding from sediment-laden river systems, conversion to fishponds, and over-extraction of groundwater that exacerbated susceptibility to land subsidence.
“The airport project does not involve reclamation. The project site has existing, valid land titles indicating its original status as land. Due to natural processes over time, this land had become prone to regular inundation. Instead of creating new land, we are redeveloping it to its former state ensuring its productive and sustainable use for the future,” he noted.
Ramon Ang refutes Bulacan flooding connection to SMC airport project, pledges cleanup initiative
The site is an island, evident in historical maps from the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) and the National Mapping Resource Information Authority (NAMRIA) during the 1990s.
Nestled amidst the Meycauayan, Taliptip, and Maycapiz rivers, the low-lying terrain had undergone transformation into fishponds. Regrettably, this evolution contributed to flooding in neighboring towns, stemming from hindered river outflow to Manila Bay and river shallowness owing to sedimentation and pollution.
Ang reiterated SMC’s commitment to engaging international experts and collaborators, including esteemed global maritime services authority Royal Boskalis, to ensure adherence to the highest international benchmarks for environmental and social impact mitigation.
SMC is spearheading a comprehensive river cleansing and rejuvenation initiative that extends beyond the Marilao-Meycauayan-Obando river systems (MMORS) to encompass various rivers across Bulacan. This move is aimed at addressing the persistent issue of flooding within the province.
“Our goal with this massive project is to rejuvenate the inundated land and repurpose it into a more productive and transformative asset for Bulacan, the country, and the Filipino people. The NMIA will not only provide a world-class facility but also serve as a catalyst for local and national economic growth, unlocking boundless job opportunities and charting a path for a future-ready Philippines that remains globally competitive,” he added.