After losing his farm to the New Clark City development project three years ago, Danilo built a temporary shelter, hoping that one day the government would pay for his land.
“I planned to use that money to buy a house in another town,” he said.
To this day, he has not received a single centavo, nor has he heard anything about the promised payment.
“If I only knew what would happen to my land, I would have not consented to the project,” he said, claiming that no one told him about the construction project.
De Vera said that it has become common in the Philippines for developers to claim that they have secured the people’s consent for a project even if no consultation was done.
Many times people are “subjugated” or tagged as “criminals” when they resist development projects, he said.
“Worse, they are given positions in the government as a ‘token,’ to add ‘diversity’ to photos,” said De Vera.
Often projects like New Clark City are imposed by so-called experts who dismiss traditional practices that they say are “not aligned with scientific methods.”
Dr. Teresita Mundita Lim, executive director of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations’ Center for Biodiversity, said the potential loss of biodiversity could greatly reduce the Philippines' capacity to become resilient to threats posed by climate change.