Bay City Reclamation: Small Land with Big Plans

Some Filipino millenials may not know, but Philippines’ Bay City also known as the reclamation area or MOA or Macapagal area to locals, sits on earth where there was once only water, actually it includes Taft Avenue to Roxas Boulevard.  I was too young also to understand and to care then, but experts may have put forward two reclamation methods in this area:  Drained reclamation or deep cement mixing (DCM) or a combination of both.  Both methods do not require dredging and thus avoid churning up sedimentary materials that could affect water quality in the vicinity.   A thorough research with Philippine Reclamation Authority will reveal the methods they used.  Prayerfully, responsible and environment friendly.

Basics of Two Reclamation Methods

In my study, drained reclamation involves putting layers on earth and sand on the sea bed creating pressure to consolidate them and extracting water from within the layers through weep-holes much like pressing down on a sponge full of water.  Meters of thick layer of sand and earth needs to be laid in the drained reclamation method.  About 90% of which will consolidate through the pressurization process into new land in around 12 months.  This method is only suitable for sea beds with no contaminated mud.
In the contaminated mud pit zone, DCM is used.  Just like using a blender, deep cement mixing slowly blends and injects cement into the soft mud of the sea bed stiffening it into the form of cement columns on top of which we can build the reclamation load.  The main advantage of DCM is that it has a very low environmental impact.  Contaminated mud, doesn’t have to be removed, no squeezing of polluted water from the contaminated mud. The mud is treated in place with the cement and ends up with the stiffened mud in place. Without any impact to the environment, as experts say.

Although DCM involves much higher costs than the other, the plan to use this method within a contaminated area reduces the impact to the environment.  Experts conduct a series of studies and on-site tests to ensure the project’s feasibility and a desirable outcome before pushing forward with the plan to reclaim a certain target area.

Big Plans

Many a business in the Philippines, who already have presence must expand its facilities further in order to maintain its long-term competitiveness. Those who would like to have a presence in the Bay City need to act with wisdom in acquiring properties because land on this seacoast is of great demand for housing and for commercial activities.

It is strange that I have missed the presence of some companies who can add value to Bay City.  The location has operational efficiency and infrastructural development on a swing!  It may seem, they are not maximizing the value of this piece of reclaimed land and it will be a scarce resource soon as many a builder plans to expand soon.  Currently there is a plan to merge the Pasay and Paranaque reclamation project by an integrated property company setting aside P100B for this project alone.

Environmental Plea

Environment study is in place for submission to Philippine Reclamation Authority planners, but I pray that it is not limited to the study of engineering and architectural planners only.  Marine, Geological Science people should also be involved aside from Department Works and Public Highways, Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA), Metropolitan Manila Development Authority, and the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology amongst other Philippine Agencies and maybe a help from the U.S. Navy and Japan International Cooperation Agency.  Builders and Planners, should not just minimize costs and maximize profits but also minimize environmental risks.  The shoreline structure shall be designed properly and make adjustments accordingly to correct the mistakes of the past when lowering of the land surface and flooding are inevitable, storm surges and waves plus earthquakes were ignored.  No more remedial repairs please and make things right this time especially your regulatory approvals.    The government authorities should stand firm in correcting the past mistakes, not allowing excuses from the developers and avoid receiving personal financial gains for instant self-gratification purposes then ignoring science and the environment where Filipino builders and its consultants usually fail.

The reclamation method is widely used in various neighbor countries like Japan, Singapore and Hongkong.  It is also employed in many places in Europe, Middle East and America.  We can duplicate the best practices by getting the big creative, profitable but with social responsibility and environment friendly minds together, to make things in the Bay City right.  After all, we were mandated to be fruitful, replenish the earth and subdue it and have dominion.

Credits to my co-broker for this article 

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