Reject coastal-based eco-tourism projects – fisherfolk to Gina Lopez

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Incoming DENR Secretary Gina Lopez | Photo courtesy of abs-cbnnews.com

Reject coastal-based eco-tourism projects – fisherfolk to Gina Lopez

Manila, Philippines – The militant fisherfolk group Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (Pamalakaya-Pilipinas) on Wednesday reminds the incoming Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Secretary Gina Lopez to also stand against eco-tourism projects that result to displacement of fisherfolk from their communities.

Although it is a welcome development that the next DENR Chief is a staunch anti-mining advocate, we object her support to eco-tourism projects especially in coastal areas that massively displace the fishers,” Salvador France, Pamalakaya vice-chairperson said in a statement.

Gina Lopez is an ally against large-scale destructive mining in Verde Island Passage (VIP), a strait which separates the islands of Luzon and Mindoro and is a home to almost 8 million fishers, farmers and indigenous people. But the fisherfolk group questioned her for being vocal against large-scale mining yet favors eco-tourism projects in the VIP.

Pamalakaya said that development projects like eco-tourism is no different from wanton mining exploration in a sense that it will both wipe out fishing communities and other residents residing along the coast.

Water-based eco-tourism projects are tried and tested; fisherfolk families and residents along the coast were always wiped out beforehand. It won’t be good if the next DENR head will favor and approve massive reclamation and grand sell out of our coast lines to pave way for beach resorts embedded with floating hotels at the expense of fisherfolk’s lives and livelihoods,” France said.

The fisherfolk group said that they are looking forward to the new DENR Chief to put an end to all destructive large-scale mining that put not just the environment, but moreover the livelihoods of the fishers and farmers at stake.

This is a strong reminder to Sec. Gina Lopez that we are always ready to oppose and frustrate any attempts to transform the productive fishing waters into money-making ventures of big business-magnates like her ilk,” France ended. ###

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