Cynthia Villar warns Metro Manila might sink like Jakarta due to reclamations

Senator Cynthia Villar on Tuesday warned that Metro Manila might suffer the same fate as the slowly sinking Indonesian capital of Jakarta due to reclamation activities in Manila Bay.

“Alam mo, ang worry ko sa Manila Bay, baka lumubog ang Metro Manila ‘pag hindi niyo tinigilan ang reclamation na ‘yan,” Villar said at the continuation of the Senate probe into the reclamation projects across the country.

“Parang hindi sila naniniwala that there is a possibility na lulubog ang Metro Manila. But Jakarta is sinking. Lilipat na ‘yung capital ng Indonesia to somewhere else.”

(You know, my worry about Manila Bay reclamations is that Metro Manila might sink if you don’t stop these reclamations. It seems like they do not believe there is a possibility Metro Manila would sink. But Jakarta is sinking. The Indonesian capital is being moved to somewhere else.)

The Indonesian government is preparing to move its capital to Borneo as Jakarta has been battling the effects of climate change, with experts predicting up to a third of the city could be underwater by 2050.

Villar shared during the hearing that she visited an island in Indonesia for an agriculture-related event. The island has since sunk, she said.

“So, what would prevent [the National Capital Region] from sinking? Kasi ‘yung sea level rise ang bilis ng taas… ang problema sa Metro Manila ang taas ng sea level rise at mabilis din ang pagbaba ng Metro Manila kasi we are getting water from underneath,” she said.

(What would prevent the NCR from sinking? The problem in Metro Manila is that the sea level is rising quickly, and Metro Manila is sinking rapidly because we are getting water from underneath.)

“So pag bumababa ang Metro Manila, tapos tumataas ang sea level rise, tapos tinatambakan pa natin yung ocean, ‘yung Manila Bay, e di madali tayo na paglubog ng Metro Manila,” she added.

(If Metro Manila sinks and the sea level rises, while we reclaim parts of Manila Bay, then we will hasten Metro Manila’s sinking.)

Given the situation, Villar reminded the stakeholders present in the hearing to study reclamations thoroughly before pushing for such activities.

Last August, the National Mapping and Resource Information Authority (NAMRIA) reported that the sea level around Metro Manila rose by 8.40 millimeters a year from 1901 to 2022 – around three times the global average— DVM, GMA Integrated News

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