The Department of Transportation and Communications aims to dilute traffic and strengthen “institutional, regulatory and delivery framework” for bus operations along the strategic transport route of España-Quezon-Commonwealth Avenue in Northern Metro Manila. The proposed project will involve the upgrade or construction of bus lanes and depots, establishing a Bus Rapid Transit Line and improve supportive infrastructure. Land will be acquired for the depot components of the project. Specific sites for the depots have not been determined; therefore detailed information regarding loss of homes and property has yet to be established.
Location: The transit corridor, located in the Philippines, will be 27.7 km in length within the “high density commercial areas of north east Manila City and south west Quezon City”. 14.7 km of the route lies between Commonwealth Avenue and an outer terminal at Fairview Mall. Between Manila City Hall and PHILCOA, largely along Quezon Avenue is a 13 km stretch of the route. “The Manila-Quezon corridor extends from the immediate area around PHILCOA footbridge, Commonwealth Avenue, in the north east; to the Andres Bonifacio Memorial area bounded by Padre Burgos, Natividad Almeda-Lopez, A Villegas and Cecilia Munoz-Palma in the south west – a length of 13.0 km,” which forms the core improvement corridor.
Resources needed: Land to be acquired.
Risk Assessment: Category A.
The World Bank classifies proposed projects based on the type, location, sensitivity, and scale of the project and the nature and severity of its potential environmental impacts.
Category A is assigned to a project only if it is likely to have “significant adverse environmental impacts that are sensitive, diverse, or unprecedented.”
APPLICABLE SOCIAL & ENVIRONMENTAL STANDARDS
Environmental Assessment OP/BP 4.01
This safeguard is triggered due to the expected increase during construction of traffic congestion and related traffic safety [as well as] overall nuisance to the communities brought about by noise and vibration, dust, traffic congestion, and waste. Long term impacts include the access and affordability of transport, particularly for vulnerable sectors such as women, persons with disabilities and the poor.
Physical and Cultural Resources OP/BP 4.11
Triggered because of the project's potential to affect cultural and historical landmarks, as well as religious sites. These include old buildings and bridges, churches, monuments and shrines, and public institutions [including schools] that are located along and/or in close proximity to the BRT route and thus may be affected by the project.
Involuntary Resettlement OP/BP 4.1- Triggered due to significant economic displacement arising from loss of income and livelihood, coupled with potential loss of homes and property from land acquisition.
Involuntary Resettlement OP/BP 4.1
Triggered due to significant economic displacement arising from loss of income and livelihood, coupled with potential loss of homes and property from land acquisition.
OUR RISK ASSESSMENT
Based on the World Bank's project documents, this project poses potential risks to the following human rights:
Right to Housing and Property
Approximately 3.2 hectares of land will be acquired for the construction of two bus depots but the specific locations of these depots have not been finalized by appraisal. Consistent with the principle of avoidance and/or minimizing impact to resettlement, the borrower intends to acquire unoccupied land using willing buyer-willing seller scheme.
Right to Culture
A Mosque along the ACE Citi Development Corporation property along Palanca Street may be adversely impacted by noise from the BRT line that exceeds the Department of Environmental and Natural Resource Standards. Additionally, historical, cultural and religious resources that may be negatively affected include old buildings, monuments, shrines, churches, bridges, and schools. Specifically monuments, shrines and religious sites that will be affected include the Quezon City Memorial Circle, Nacpil-Bautista House, and the Bantayog ng mga Bayani Memorial, [as well as] the UST, oldest catholic university in Asia. Additionally, old bridges connecting the various parts of Manila City and traversing the Pasig River such as the Quezon Bridge and the Ayala Bridge may be affected. Further, there is a potential that property with a historical, cultural or religious significance may be unearthed during excavation. Landscapes of sites may also be affected, and structural damage may result from vibrations, earth moving and excavation of adjacent areas.
Right to Health
This right is triggered by potential noise and dust during the construction phase. The presence of bituminous materials, while unlikely to accumulate to toxic levels, must be carefully monitored, and the plant for the supply of molten bitumen should be sighted well away from rivers and streams, schools, health clinics and other sensitive receivers. One of main concerns during construction is the disruption to the existing utilities including transmission and underground sewer and water lines. Further, during the operations phase domestic solid wastes and domestic wastewater will be generated, and a water treatment facility will need to be constructed.
Right to Livelihood
Significant economic displacement is expected for this project. Operators and drivers of Public Utility Vehicles, including Jeepneys will be impacted by this project, as their routes are scheduled to be discontinued. This will amount to income loss for 5,218 people. The PUV drivers are considered more vulnerable to economic dislocation than the operators, particularly PUJ drivers. Their capacity to adapt to this reform in the public transportation sector is potentially hampered by low levels of education (elementary and high-school levels) and lack of alternative skills. Such a situation could translate to widespread displacement of this sector and render their families vulnerable to negative socio-economic consequences. Public Utility Buses currently operate locally in the area, and this project will adversely impact 1144 people employed as bus drivers, conductors and personnel. Commercial shops may also be impacted that operate within the BRT station limits, losing frontage, customer access, parking space, or display areas. This may negatively impact the livelihood of owners and employees.
Right to Water
There are three river crossings along the BRT corridor (Tullahan River, San Juan River and Pasig River), which poses a risk of silt transfer during the excavation phase, as well as water contamination from potential runoff from concrete. Further, both surface and subsurface water resources in the Project area could be contaminated by fuel and chemical spills, or by solid waste and effluents generated by the kitchens and toilets at construction campsites.
Right to a Healthy Environment
Potential harmful impacts identified by bank documentation include: air quality, increased noise, water pollution, utility disturbance and urban flora loss. Bank documentation notes that the project will generate adverse impact to air quality due to increase in emission brought by traffic congestion during construction phase of the project. Further, at the depot sites, wastewater might contaminate ground water and surface water resources with oil and grease and other contaminants coming from wash bays of BRT buses, liquid effluents from associated depot facilities, and from human activities. Reconstruction of the BRT road will require a lot of surface cutting which will give rise to large amounts of spoil for disposal. Short term impacts include traffic congestion, interruption to power, water, telecom and other utility systems and services; traffic congestion, disturbance and public hazards, soil erosion and disturbance of existing land features or landscape, noise pollution, and, air and water pollution due to solid and liquid wastes, hazardous wastes and excavations. Environmental impacts during operation include (i) noise pollution, (ii) air pollution, (iii) water pollution, (iv) community safety and (v) power/energy resource use conflict with the locality.
Rights of Marginalized and Discriminated Against Groups
This right is triggered due to the possibility that access and affordability to the new system could be an impact especially for vulnerable sectors such as women, persons with disabilities and the poor. Concerns for women and other marginalized groups on public transport in Metro Manila include harassment in over-crowded public transport vehicles and difficulty getting on and off of vehicles. Further, female employees are not well-represented in consultations, as drivers and conductors are primarily men.
Bank financing: This project is financed by the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development; it is co-financed by the Clean Technology Fund, the French Agency for Development, and the Government of the Philippines.
Borrower: Republic of the Philippines, overseen by Department of Transportation and Communications.
Amount of bank loan or investment: 39.67 million USD from the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development, 23.95 million USD from Climate Investment Funds, 26.10 USD from the French Agency for Development.
Total project cost: 109.61 million USD
*No contacts available at time of writing
Three consultations took place during 2013 with special interest groups representing operators and drivers as well as the Philippine Commission on Women, in these three consultations a total of 15 people, not including staff, were consulted. Areas of concern during consultations included the kind of fuel used for buses, the devastating economic impacts due to loss of livelihood for public utility drivers and operators. Women raised safety concerns regarding physical harassment on public transportation, requesting one female-only bus per hour, and security guards at stations were requested. Additionally, designated seats for women with special needs were requested.
According to bank documentation, “from November 2014 to May 2015, a total of 21 consultation sessions were held by close to 300 participants from different transport groups and institutions. Separate consultations were also held with other special interest groups such as the National Center for Commuter Safety and Protection (NCCSP), National Council for Disabilities Affairs, and the Philippine Commission on Women (PCW). Questions from the meeting were raised in relation to whether the government will help economically displaced drivers and operators relocate or find new routes to operate, whether they will be provided a terminal should they find a new route, whether they can be given a preference to work in the BRT system, whether they will be offered trainings to enhance their employability, whether they can be investors in the BRT system, and whether the government will purchase their old vehicles for scrapping. There were additional concerns about flooding affecting the BRT line along the España corridor. It was suggested that persons with disabilities have a discount on bus fare, and that tactile floor services to assist blind persons be a feature on the buses. Importantly, whether the BRT is adopting the principle of universal access or BP 344 (Accessibility Law), and general questions regarding accessibility for those using wheelchairs and crutches, including the need for designated staff to assist persons with physical disabilities.
Two more public consultations will be held during the ESIA stage; however, the dates are unknown.
In terms of accessibility to related impact assessments, bank documentations elaborates that “all safeguard instruments, namely the ESIA and RPF for the proposed project have been prepared and disclosed locally on May 15, 2015; they were disclosed electronically at the Bank’s Infoshop on May 15, 2015. Brochures in English and Tagalog will be distributed on the rights and responsibilities of displaced people and notices posted in barangays in City of Manila and Quezon City.”
Grievances redress mechanisms may be submitted to the Resident Ombudsman, who is an Observer in the Technical Working Committee (TWC) for Acquisition of Sites/Rights-of-Way for DOTC’s Infrastructure Projects. “If no solution is reached within 15 days through this procedure, the affected person may file a complaint to the Office for Legal Affairs. No legal or administrative fees will be incurred for project affected persons during this process.”
ACCOUNTABILITY MECHANISM OF WORLD BANK
The World Bank Inspection Panel is the independent complaint mechanism and fact-finding body for people who believe they are likely to be, or have been, adversely affected by a World Bank-financed project. If you submit a complaint to the Inspection Panel, they may investigate to assess whether the World Bank is following its own policies and procedures for preventing harm to people or the environment. You can contact the Inspection Panel or submit a complaint by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. You can learn more about the Inspection Panel and how to file a complaint at: http://ewebapps.worldbank.org/apps/ip/Pages/Home.aspx.