MANILA, Philippines – Over nine million fishermen and families living along the country’s coastlines will be adversely affected by President Benigno Aquino III’s order to keep the areas off limits to homes after storm surges brought by supertyphoon Yolanda wiped out most of the coastal villages in Eastern Samar, Leyte and 34 provinces.
Militant fisherfolk group Pamalakaya said the order would be disastrous to the families living in these areas since they would most likely lose their livelihood.
“The Philippines is an archipelago of 7,100 islands during high tide and 7,101 islands during low tide, and nearly 10 million people source their livelihood and live along coastal areas,” Pamalakaya vice chairperson Salvador France said.
France cited that among those to be affected by the President’s directive are Northern Negros, Northern Iloilo, Aklan, Capiz, Antique, Guimaras, Northern Cebu, Masbate, Palawan, Mindoro Occidental and Mindoro Oriental.
President Aquino has ordered Department of Environment and Natural Resources Secretary Ramon Paje to establish “no-build zones” on coastlines to ensure the transfer of residents to safe resettlement areas.
In justifying his order, the President said Filipinos should learn from painful lessons of Yolanda, as well as tropical storms “Sendong” and typhoon “Pablo”.
President Aquino said the DENR many areas in the country had been marked “danger zones” based on the geo-hazard mapping of DENR’s Mines and Geosciences Bureau which should be kept cleared.