Estrada foresees ‘Solar City’ reclamation project to make Manila regain its old glory

Daily Tribune | Written by Tribune Wires | February 6, 2017

The soon-to-be-built Solar City urban center in Manila Bay will be the first multi-billion-peso project in the country to utilize the latest technology in energy generation, solid waste management and environmental conservation.

The project’s proponent, Manila Goldcoast Development Corp. (MGDC), made this assurance as Manila Mayor Joseph “Erap” Estrada reiterated his support to big-ticket infrastructure projects in Manila such as Solar City which, he said, would help bring back the city’s “old glory.”

“We need these new developments, not only because of its positive economic impact. It will certainly beautify Manila without destroying our environment, especially our historic Manila Bay,” Estrada said.

Upon assuming office in 2013, Estrada embarked on his Urban Renewal Program aimed at reviving what he said was the capital city’s lost glory.
MGDC vice chairman Edmundo Lim said Solar City, compared to other existing commercial districts such as the Bonifacio Global City (BGC) in Taguig, will use cutting-edge technology that is available only in Europe, US and Canada.

“We will be much better because we’re putting the best technology in the world: power generation through solar wind and biomass, state-of-the-art waste collection systems and environment protection measures,” he said.
“This will be the first project in the country to incorporate all these technologies,” Lim pointed out amid fears the construction of Solar City will only further pollute Manila Bay.

MGDC won the contract to build Solar City way back 1991. In 2012, the City Council of Manila finally ratified the consortium agreement and Joint Venture Agreement (JVA) it entered into with the city government.

Solar City is a 148-hectare, state-of-the-art, tourism, commercial and residential district that will be put up in Manila Bay to host business centers, residential and commercial properties and tourism facilities, including an international cruise ship terminal.

Lim said this ultra-modern commercial and business hub will have huge cisterns that will collect rainwater which can then be processed to usable water.

To reduce food waste, every office building, business establishment and residential unit will be equipped with garburators — a device that shreds food leftovers into small pieces, Lim said.

“We produce tons and tons of food waste every year but if you have a system wherein you throw away your organic food to a garburator, when you throw your garbage there, it just grinds it into a slurry and then there’s a special pipe, that slurry is bio-digested, so you transform organic matter to methane gas and compost,” Lim explained.

The produced methane gas and compost, he said, will be used to generate energy that will power the entire business center.

“Since an organic matter or food waste consists more than 50 percent of your daily waste, 50 percent of the waste is already removed through this garburator.

So what is left? Dry waste, your paper, your plastic, your bottle, ‘yung mga hindi puede i-recycle like batteries, napkins, so konti na lang ‘yun, 5 to 10 percent na lang,” Lim pointed out.

If this system is widely used in Metro Manila, Lim said, it will cause a huge reduction in the volume of garbage that is disposed in dumps and landfills.
Contrary to the apprehensions of environmental groups, Lim said Solar City will not further pollute Manila Bay because it will be using these sophisticated waste reduction technology.

“Solar City will beautify it (Manila Bay) and we’ll make sure we are not surrounded by basura because otherwise our project will not be high-end,” the MGDC official stressed.

Solar City will also be designed as the country’s first urban farming center where every glass-made building facing the sun will have layers of boxes where vegetable and ornamental plants can be cultivated, according to Lim.
“You can just imagine, you have access to the sun, and you’ll have plants inside the buildings that are maintained not by janitors but by farmers,” he said.

“Top of the building to the ground, it’s all green kasi mga pillars lang sila, so we’re going to make sure all the plants we plant there are edible — fruit trees, gulay so that you produce all these food inside…plus we’re going to put up a huge, huge aquarium not for viewing but for raising food — we can raise shrimps, crabs, fish, all kinds of culture,” Lim added.

Estrada earlier had said Solar City will be a rich revenue source for the city government as it is projected to generate up to P17 billion in taxes every year on top of the P10 billion in real property taxes.

Councilor Laris Borromeo, chairman of the committee on tourism, said big-ticket projects such as Solar City are of strategic importance to the city government in terms of economic development, business growth and job generation.

For his part, Majority Floor Leader Casimiro Sison said the City of Manila stands to regain its lost image as the country’s “Pearl of the Orient” and center of economic activities once the three major reclamation projects that are under way in Manila Bay, particularly the multibillion-peso Solar City urban center, have been completed.

The two other reclamation projects — the P7.4-billion expansion of the Manila Harbour Centre of R-II Builders Inc. and the UAA Kinming Group Development Corp.’s 562-hectare mixed-use commercial and business district in the central area of Manila Bay — also have the go-signal of the city council, he added.