APEC’s Blue Economy shapes up Palawan underwater project – fisherfolk
Manila, Philippines – The militant fisherfolk group Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (PAMALAKAYA-Pilipinas) on Friday claimed the proposed underwater theme park by American’s children network Nickelodeon is part of the Blue Economy agenda. The Blue Economy was endorsed in the country by the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) on 2015 as a development strategy for the inclusive growth in fisheries under the framework of regional integration.
This includes marine and coastal tourism that targets to generate income and bring economic growth to the country and at the same time, preserving and conserving the marine environment. The concept of the blue economy was first pushed by the Small Island Developing States (SIDS) which is headed by the United States (U.S.) during the Rio+20 held on June 2012 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
But contrary to blue economy’s orientation, the fisherfolk group enunciates that this will further the liberalization and privatization of marine environment and coastal communities. Blue economy will wreak havoc to the country’s food security because it will gradually destroy our marine resources through development aggression and plunder.
“The blue economy will impose policies of foreign plunder in the country. This development scheme wants to commence in the country through Nickelodeon’s underwater theme park in Palawan. This is an example how this seemingly-development strategy masquerades itself to cover its plunderous agenda,” Fernando Hicap, PAMALAKAYA Chairperson said in a statement.
Nickelodeon through the Viacom International Media Networks on Monday unveiled plans to construct an underwater theme park in Coron, Palawan where the country’s last ecological frontier is situated. The proposed project immediately garners chorus of criticisms from netizens, environmentalists and fisherfolk organizations for according to them, this will jeopardize the country’s marine environment and moreover, the livelihood of the fisherfolk and other coastal people.
PAMALAKAYA claims Nickelodeon’s underwater theme park has the blue economy’s characteristic which advocates environmental protection and conservation while showcasing the country’s marine attraction to tourists worldwide.
“Concealed behind conservation and economic growth, proposed-underwater theme park in Palawan aims to transform the country’s rich fishing ground into a mere money-making luxurious leisure park of foreign investors all at the expense of our bountiful marine and aquatic resources,” Hicap said.
The fisherfolk group said Palawan is a home to more than 300 species of corals or about half of all coral species in the world and also a breeding ground of more than 1,500 fish species in the country out f the 2,400 marine species found across the archipelago. All these, according to Pamalakaya would be at stake if the underwater project pushes through.
Pamalakaya meanwhile welcomed Environment Secretary Gina Lopez for rejecting the Palawan project. The group said the Environment department should ensure it will not issue any environmental permit to the project. ###