Manila Mayor Estrada hit for its public stunt Manila Bay clean-up
Manila, Philippines – Manila Mayor Joseph Estrada on Thursday earned the ire of the militant fisherfolk group Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (PAMALAKAYA-Pilipinas) for its apparent publicity stunt clean-up drive in Manila Bay, saying the Mayor showed gross stupidity and negligence in rehabilitation of the dying bay.
The clean-up drive last week was claimed to be initiated by the Manila local government where it was shown in reports that trashes were first scattered in Manila Bay before proceeding with the clean-up.
The fisherfolk group ridiculed Manila Mayor Estrada for assuming that he could fool the people over his stupid publicity overdrive. The group said that it was Estrada who actually approved four destructive reclamation projects in Manila Bay over the last 6 months. Reclamation and conversion projects, according to PAMALAKAYA are the leading reason why Manila Bay is already now on its severe condition while thousands of fisherfolk and coastal settlers were already ejected from their fishing community due to past reclamation projects.
Mayor Estrada has recently approved the Horizon Manila project that covers 417 hectares of the bay. It is dubbed to be Manila’s biggest reclamation projects under Mayor Estrada. The other three that were given blessing by the Manila Mayor were the 407.42-hectare New Manila Bay International Community, the 148-hectare Manila Solar City project, and the 50-hectare expansion of Manila Harbour Centre in Tondo.
“The clean-up drive of Mayor Estrada and his henchmen was a total hypocrisy, insulting, and a big joke. Estrada is silly if he thinks that he could get our applause and praise over his publicity stunt. We all know that aside from Estrada’s complete ignorance on the environmental issues besetting Manila Bay, he wants to project that domestic wastes are the primary source of pollution in the bay in order to justify the demolition of fishing and urban poor communities and pave way for his approved reclamation projects,” Fernando Hicap, PAMALAKAYA Chairperson said in a statement.
The group also questions the budget that was used for the clean-up drive, saying this could be used to rehabilitate mangroves that were destroyed by rampant infrastructure projects and provide small fishers livelihood assistance to boost their fishing production.
PAMALAKAYA said at least 40 reclamation projects covering more than 30 thousand hectares are pending in Manila Bay under the National Reclamation Plan (NRP). If completed, this will turn Manila Bay from productive fishing hub into international gateway that would accommodate container ports for global trade, economic zones, casinos, eco-tourism, industrial and commercial hub in line with the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos’ Boulevard 2000.
PAMALAKAYA along with other environmental groups propose widening of coverage of the Supreme Court’s continuing mandamus to rehabilitate and clean-up Manila Bay; the proposal includes restriction of rampant reclamation activities, and ordering commercial and industrial establishments to stop dumping chemical and toxic wastes in Manila Bay. ###