The governments of the Philippines and the Netherlands have tapped the Dutch knowledge institute Deltares to lead the creation of the Manila Bay Sustainable Development Master Plan.
Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Ernesto M. Pernia and Netherlands Ambassador to the Philippines Marion Derckx signed the memorandum of understanding on Monday at the National Economic and Development Authority (Neda) office.
Deltares is an independent institute for applied research in the fields of water and subsurface. It has undertaken other projects in Asia and the Philippines, including the Water Resources Action Planning Central Cebu and the UNICEF disaster-assessment mission after Typhoon Ondoy.
“We are fortunate to have the Dutch with us in this endeavor. Their extensive knowledge and experience in implementing programs and projects that protect vulnerable coastal zones are unparalleled,” Pernia said.
“They have developed integrated and innovative solutions to coastal management that mimic natural processes, instead of working against natural processes,” he added.
The Manila Bay Master Plan aims to provide a comprehensive framework for the sustainable development and management of the entire Manila Bay area.
It is envisioned to guide future decisions on programs and projects to be undertaken within the Bay area.
Living at or below sea level, the Dutch are known for their integrated and innovative solutions in coastal management that mimic natural systems, instead of working against them.
The preliminary activities for the master-planning exercise began in 2015, when the government requested the government of the Netherlands to dispatch a group of Dutch disaster risk-reduction experts to Manila to conduct a scoping mission aimed at identifying and assessing the current situation in the Manila Bay area and afterward recommend
measures for its sustainable development.
After the mission, the Dutch experts confirmed the urgent need for a framework for the development and management of the Bay area.
Based on the document, P250 million worth of financing for the project will be shared by the national and Dutch governments. The funds will be used primarily for consulting services of Dutch and Filipino experts, particularly on reclamation.
Obtaining consulting services of foreign experts, which will be procured by the Dutch government, will amount to P150 million, with the cost being split 50-50 between the Philippine and the Netherlands governments.
The remaining P100 million will be shouldered by the Philippine government to obtain local consultants, finance other expenses, such as advertising and representation.
The Neda earlier said the comprehensive master plan will coordinate national and local government efforts in developing the Manila Bay area, taking into consideration the economic, ecologic and social development in the Manila Bay region.
Documents obtained by the BusinessMirror showed that the project, to be titled Manila Bay Development Master Plan, will be undertaken between 2017 and 2019.
The creation of the master plan will be spearheaded by the Neda, in coordination with over five agencies, such as the Philippine Reclamation Authority, Department of Environment and Natural Resources, and Department of Public Works and Highways .
The Neda will also coordinate with the Department of Transportation and the Philippine Ports Authority.
Once the master plan is completed, the Neda said the government can move inland and plan for areas surrounding Manila Bay, such as the Port of Manila.
The Manila Bay serves as the catchment basin of major rivers in the National Capital Region, Bulacan, Bataan, Laguna and Cavite.
The Department of Tourism proposed a tourism master plan for the Manila Bay region three years ago and called for a comprehensive master plan for the Manila Bay area.