Villar housing projects are all flood-free — Mrs. Villar PDF Print E-mail
Monday, 19 March 2012 15:43

Former Las Piñas Rep. Cynthia Villar takes pride of the family’s housing subdivision and land developing business for its track record of having built housing projects that have not experienced or suffered from flooding.

Mrs. Villar, who was in in this city yesterday to grace the opening of Zambolympics, an annual sports competition sponsored by Congressman Erbie A. Fabian, told newsmen during a press conference that Vistaland, the family’s company that has built Camella Homes subdivisions in Metro Manila and in several other locations in the country, is very strict and careful in choosing the sites for its housing projects, taking into consideration the environmental aspect.

“Ours is a publicly listed company and is open to public scrutiny. That’s why we are very careful with all our projects. We have foreign investors in the company and they check all the company’s undertakings. Once we fail, we will lose the credibility and that is what we do not want to happen,” said Mrs. Villar.

Villar was reacting to a newsman’s observation that housing subdivision projects were tagged as one of the culprits behind the disastrous flood triggered by Typhoon Sendong in Cagayan de Oro and Iligan City.

The Villar Foundation has built a Memorial in Cagayan de Oro City that is dedicated to the Sendong victims.

She debunked reports that housing and land developments were the real culprits behind the disaster.

Villar said there were many other factors behind the Sendong disaster and one of them was the clogged river in Cagayan de Oro City .
She stressed that it is one reason why the company did not push through its housing project     in Boalan, this city because of the absence of a good
drainage system in the area.

“We are very strict in the drainage system. If there is no good drainage system, we would not push through with such project,” she said.

As a staunch advocate for environment preservation and conservation, Mrs.  Villar has filed a petition before the Supreme Court seeking the issuance of a writ of kalikasan to stop the planned reclamation project that covers 635.14 hectares of water in Manila Bay along the Bacoor-Las Pinas City-Parañaque City coastline.

The writ of kalikasan is “a remedy available to a natural or juridical person, entity authorized by law, people’s organization, non-governmental organization, or any public interest group accredited by or registered with any government agency, on behalf of persons whose constitutional right to a balanced and healthful ecology is violated...”

Villar’s petition was supported by signatories totaling 315,849 residents, representing more than 1.5 million residents of the cities of Las Pinas and Paranaque and the municipality of Bacoor in Cavite province.

Named respondents were the Alltech Contractors, Inc. (AllTech), Philippine Reclamation Authority, Department of Environment and Natural Resources, Environmental Management Bureau and City Government of Las Piñas.

The Paranaque and Las Pinas Coastal Bay Project, according to environmentalists, will destroy wildlife habitat and expose the residents of the cities of Las Pinas and Paranaque and the municipality of Bacoor and their properties to risk of flooding.

A hydrological study showed an Ondoy-type of typhoon will lead to the flooding and destruction of affected coastal barangays.

In a worst-case scenario, hydrologist consultant Tricore Solutions, Inc. (Tricore) predicted that the implementation of the project will result in the inundation of numerous barangays in Bacoor, Las Pinas City and Paranaque City under more than five meters of floodwaters.

The reclamation project will also wreak havoc on Las Pinas-Paranaque Critical Habitat and Ecotourism Area consisting of over 175.307 hectares of land in the cities of Las Pinas and Paranaque.

Villar’s petition noted that the project proponent was able to skirt tedious and rigorous environmental impact assessment processes by claiming that its project is but a “continuation” of an on-going and existing project.

Based on the documents attached to the petition, Alltech represented in its application for an ECC that its Paranaque and Las Pinas Coastal Bay Project is just a “continuation” of the “Manila Bay Land Reclamation Project.”

This was earlier proposed by the Public Estates Authority, now known as the Public Reclamation Authority, and the Amari Coastal Bay Development Corporation.

This earlier project involved no less than the infamous PEA-Amari contract voided by the SC upon a taxpayer-citizen petition filed by Atty. Frank Chavez.
Villar’s petition, wherein Chavez acts as counsel, seeks the issuance of a temporary environmental protection order to stop the respondents from carrying out the reclamation project pending resolution by the SC on whether or not the writ of kalikasan applied for will be granted.