THE Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (Pamalakaya) on Wednesay expressed alarm over Malacañang’s plan to declare coast lines “off limits” to homes after storm surges and mini-tsunamis devastated coastal villages in Eastern Samar, Leyte and 34 more provinces affected by Supertyphoon Yolanda (international code name Haiyan).
Pamalakaya said a draft Executive Order (EO) entitled “Adopting Fisherfolk Shelter for Stewards as a National Strategy to Ensure Safe and Decent Settlement in Coastal Communities and Establishing Supporting Mechanisms for its Implementation” is set to be signed by President Aquino.
The order, said the group, will be met with strong opposition by the group, a national organization of small fishermen.
“The EO on fish settlement is an open declaration of war against the Filipino fishing community. It will remove nearly 10 percent of the country’s population away from their main source of livelihood and communities,” Pamalakaya Vice Chairman Salvador France said in a statement.
President Aquino had earlier directed Environment Secretary Ramon JP Paje to establish “no-build” zones on coastlines to ensure the transfer of residents to safe resettlement areas.
“The EO tells it all. It will kill practically everything related to fishing livelihood, residence and culture. This EO on fish settlement is a menace,” France said.
In justifying his order, the President said Filipinos should learn from painful lessons of Yolanda as well as Tropical Storm Sendong and Typhoon Pablo.
France said about 10 million Filipinos or roughly 10 percent of the country’s population live in coastal areas, the Philippines being an archipelago of 7,101 islands and islets.
Declaring coastlines as no-build zones is “stupid,” France said.
France said declaring coastal areas as no-build zones will only pave the way for massive extraction of magnetite sand or black sand, which is now rampant in Region 1 and Region 2.
Also, France said Malacañang’s plan jives well with the National Reclamation Plan of the Philippine Reclamation Authority which will result in massive land reclamation along Manila Bay.
These plans he said, will not only displace many fishermen from their livelihood and communities, but would also destroy the environment and result to disasters.