‘Great Wall of Leyte’ is anti-people, anti-environment – fisherfolk to DENR
Manila, Philippines – The fisherfolk group Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (PAMALAKAYA-Pilipinas) urged the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) to revoke the Environmental Compliance Certificate (ECC) issued in the Tide Embankment Project (TEP), also known as ‘Great Wall of Leyte’, for its Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) does not comprehensively discuss its negative environmental impacts and implications.
On the Visayas-wide protest led by PAMALAKAYA and super-typhoon Yolanda victims under the alliance of survivors People Surge on Friday, they stated that aside from various social costs TEP would bring to the people, it will also disrupt the natural cycle of marine environment and species.
The Tide Embankment Project which costs 7.9 billion pesos is a long stretch of seawall from Tacloban to the town of Tanauan, Leyte, touted to protect people from storm surges. Of the 27.3 kilometers length of the embankment, 20.1 km. are in Tacloban, 4.1 km. will cover Palo and 3.1 km. in Tanauan. It shall have a height of about 4.5 meters and its center line said to stand 30 meters from the seashore.
According to People Surge, more than 14,000 households, majority are fisherfolk will be demolished for the completion of the embankment project. In Palo, Leyte, several residents have already started to self-demolish as ordered by the DPWH in exchange for little compensation based on assessed value.
A study by the Center for Environmental Concerns (CEC) and expert scientists from AGHAM (Advocates of Science and Technology for the People) show that the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) conducted for the project did not comprehensively address environmental issues such as the effects on mangroves, concerns on inland flooding, liquefaction, and other environmental hazards.
“It is crystal clear that this project does not undergo environmental studies, the government wants to rail road its construction to displace thousands of fisherfolk and coastal settlers living ashore. We urge DENR Secretary Gina Lopez to conduct a deeper study on how TEP would cost the marine environment, and moreover the social and economic rights of the fisherfolk,” Fernando Hicap, PAMALAKAYA Chairperson said in a statement.
Yolanda survivors from Visayas gathered in Manila to protest the slow rehabilitation in the Yolanda-stricken areas and the continuing environmental plunder as a government’s response to their clamor.
“TEP is not rehabilitation but demolition and dislocation in disguise. This will usher the grand sell-out of fishing communities for local and foreign investors. The government wants to completely convert our coastal areas from productive fishing community into grandiose money-making business hubs of the rich. It is notable that this project would wipe out every single houses situated along its target location except private beach resorts owned by renowned local families and businessmen,” Hicap said.
PAMALAKAYA said they will continue staging protest actions by any means until this disastrous and destructive sea-wall project would be totally stopped. ###