MANILA President Rodrigo R. Duterte has approved the transfer of the Philippine Reclamation Authority (PRA) from the National Economic Development Authority (NEDA) to the Office of the President (OP).
Under Executive Order No. 74 signed by Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea on Feb. 1, the transfer of PRA aims to rationalize the approval process for reclamation projects towards an economically and environmentally sustainable resource development.
"The PRA shall be under the control and supervision of the OP, while the power of the President to approve all reclamation projects shall be delegated to the PRA Governing Board, the EO read.
Such delegation, however, shall not be construed as diminishing the President's authority to modify, amend, or nullify the action of the PRA Governing Board, it further read.
It may be recalled that the PRA used to be under the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR).
According to the EO, the PRA is mandated to seek the advisory opinions of national government agencies including the NEDA, DENR, and Department of Finance (DOF) on any proposed reclamation project
The EO also states that no reclamation project must be approved by the PRA without the required Area Clearance and Environmental Compliance Certificate to be issued by the DENR.
Meanwhile, the DENR must ensure transparency and inclusivity in the conduct of the Environmental Impact Assessment which shall include public disclosure and multi-stakeholder engagement.
Also under the EO, National and/or Regional reclamation development plans will have to be crafted by the PRA, in coordination with the DENR, NEDA, and affected local government units (LGUs).
Asked how the President arrived at his decision to place the PRA under the OP, Panelo said that it was his own discretion but noted that it also allowed him to be more hands-on on reclamation projects.
First, that's the discretion of the President. He has control over executive departments and offices. Perhaps the reason is to streamline the services of agencies. Perhaps it's more effective, Panelo said.
Perhaps he feels that it's better if it's (the PRA) is under the Office of the President, he added.
Earlier, Manila Mayor Joseph Estrada approved three reclamation projects at the Manila Bay which will transform the coastal sections of Manila and Pasay into modern business districts. (PNA)
Source; Philippines News Agency