No-build zone policy displaces 10.8 million people in Yolanda, non-Yolanda areas – Pamalakaya
The online news portal of TV5
MANILA — The no-build zone policy of rehabilitation chief Panfilo Lacson is a “nightmare” to 100,000 fishermen in Yolanda-affected areas, keeping at least 800,000 people dependent on fishing from their source of livelihood, the fishermen’s alliance Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (Pamalakaya) said in a news release Sunday.
The policy bans the construction of houses 40 meters from sea coasts.
Pamalakaya is thus asking Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) Secretary Manuel Roxas II to stop Lacson from carrying out the policy intended to keep coastal residents safe from tsunamis and storm surges.
“Secretary Roxas should stop the Office of the President and Ping Lacson from carrying out this all-time high brutality and wholesale disregard of people’s rights and welfare. The DILG chief should rise above the occasion and take a decisive stand on the no-dwell zone, no-build zone policy to protect the farmers, the fishermen, and other marginalized people,” Pamalakaya said in a statement.
In Panay Island alone, the policy would forcibly dislocate at least 70,000 families or 350,000 people. Most of the displaced are farmers and small fishermen, Pamalakaya vice chairpersons Salvador France and Peter Gonzales. Citing government estimates, they said the breakdown is: 36,300 families in Iloilo, 16,000 families in Aklan, 12,000 families in Capiz, and 5,000 families in Antique.
Beyond ‘Yolanda’ areas
The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) through the Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB) would expand the coverage of no-build zone policy from 40 meters to 200 meters to pave the way for eco-tourism projects under the Public-Private Partnership (PPP) program, said Pamalakaya chairperson and Anakpawis partylist Rep. Fernando Hicap.
This way, Hicap said, the policy will be carried out to give way to corporate takeover by local and foreign private enterprises and businesses involved in rehabilitation programs and cause severe damage to livelihood and environment.
The policy will also be carried out in Laguna Lake and Manila Bay to justify the construction of a new international airport and other big-time PPP projects in the 90,000-hectare Laguna Lake and provide premium to large-scale and widespread reclamation projects in Manila Bay, Pamalakaya said.
In Laguna Lake, the no-build zone policy will dislocate around 3.9 million people, while in Manila Bay, about 6 million people will be evicted to pave way for big land reclamation projects of the Public Reclamation Authority (PRA), the fishermen’s group said.
At the same time, Pamalakaya urged lawmakers from Eastern Visayas and other areas affected by the no-build zone, no-dwell zone policy in Northern Negros, Northern Cebu, Panay Island, Guimaras, and Palawan to support Hicap’s House Resolution 947. This support is needed so that the congressional inquiry on the impact of no-build zone policy on small fishermen and other residents may push through.
Last week, Hicap filed a resolution directing the House Committees on Aquaculture and Fisheries and Public Works and Highways to conduct a joint inquiry to investigate the impact of the No Build Zone, No Dwell Zone policy on coastal areas affected by super typhoon Yolanda last year.
“The policy prohibits small fishermen and other residents from returning to their fishing villages and the construction of houses and settlements near the coastlines and 40 meters away from the shoreline are also prohibited,” the resolution said.
As of 29 January 2014, the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) reported that typhoon Yolanda affected at least 16 million people, mostly in Eastern Visayas, claimed the lives of more than 6,000 people, injured nearly 30,000 people, with almost 2,000 people still missing.