Missing mangroves are root of contention over Philippine airport project
Work on a new international airport project in Bulacan, just north of Manila, has already resulted in the decimation of more than 600 mangrove trees in the Manila Bay area, residents say.
Bulacan’s coast is a key mangrove forest and important bird and biodiversity area, and one of several sites along the bay that’s facing threats due to land reclamation projects.
The Bulacan “aerotropolis,” a 2,500-hectare (6,200-acre) airport complex, is part of President Rodrigo Duterte’s revised “Build, Build, Build” infrastructure program and has been awarded to San Miguel Corporation, the Philippines’ biggest company by revenue.
The cutting of mangroves is prohibited under Philippine law, but no one has been held accountable for the hundreds of trees cut in Bulacan — a problem that residents and environmental groups say will intensify as construction of the airport returns to full force by October.