Battle for the Bay

Manila, the city’s capital, explodes with the dynamism of a mega-city. She is home to our heritage and our past. Jeepneys, tricycles, and trains run through her street-veins. With the millions of souls squeezing to make a living here, it can get tiring at times. But Manila, the ever-generous city of our affections, provides her citizens with an inspiring sight that alleviates and comforts. It is a daily event as the sun sets and Manila lets her hair down by the Bay. This famed sunset has been recalled in literature, music, and the arts countless times. It is a free-for-all affair and one can not seem to get enough of having this kind of postcard view each day. But there is something looming in the horizon. The combatants are already letting out their war cries to rally their troops. This is the Battle for the Bay.

Just because it is free doesn’t mean that others could take advantage of it. The Bay is considered a national park under Proclamation No.41 in 1954 by President Ramon Magsaysay. The National Historical Commission of the Philippines then issued a Resolution No. 19 back in 2012 that declared Manila Bay as a National Historical Landmark. The Bay is also protected by Republic Act No. 10066, a national cultural act; and we also have Republic Act no. 10086. So we have these laws going up against an upheaval called reclamation. This desire to reclaim comes from the developers. With promises of progress and providing jobs for the citizens of Manila and its nearby cities, they are planning to partially block the people’s view of their sunset and replace it with concrete and other artifices. Sure there are successful reclamation projects evident in countries like Singapore and Dubai, but is there a sound guarantee that those who will be responsible for this project (if it pushes through) will make sure that standards will be upheld for the safety of the majority and the environment as well?

The sun will continue to set no matter what happens. The problem will be our way of viewing it. Should we make compromises for progress?  The view of the people should always be taken seriously for this is their birthright. Right now, the Battle for the Bay wages on. But who will win the war?

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