January 24, 2019
Bacoor fishers picketed DENR’s ‘public scoping’ for reclamation
Bacoor, Cavite – Carrying with them placards that say “Yes to Rehabilitation, No to Reclamation”, fisherfolk and local residents under the local chapter of the fishers’ group Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (PAMALAKAYA-Pilipinas) protested the Public Scoping held by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) at the Bacoor City Hall Gymnasium on Thursday.
The said public scoping was for the proposal of the local government unit of Bacoor, Cavite to reclaim 320-hectare Bacoor and Development Project and another 100-hectare Diamond Reclamation and Development Project along Manila Bay within the municipal waters of Bacoor, City.
Public scoping is an early stage of Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) where the proponents aim to provide an overview of the proposed project before the stakeholders.
Alyansa ng mga Magdaragat sa Bacoor, PAMALAKAYA’s municipal chapter, denounced the reclamation project by submitting their position paper and petition letter signed by thousands of coastal residents who will be affected by the 420-hectare reclamation project to the DENR.
“420 hectares of our productive fishing waters will be transformed into commercial and industrial hub; while at least 7, 000 fishing and urban poor families will be effectively displaced and affected by the plan of LGU to reclaim Manila Bay. The relocation sites that they offer will never be enough because it is always far from civilization with no market, hospitals, and schools nearby; unlike in our present community where almost everybody can fish,” Myrna Candinato, President of Alyansa ng mga Magdaragat sa Bacoor said.
Candinato, who is already living with her family in Barangay Maliksi III for decades now, owns a mussel farm that is only enough to send her grandchildren to school. Candinato, along with other mussel growers and municipal fisherfolk in Bacoor fear that they may not be able to fish anymore once the DENR grants the LGU’s reclamation project with environmental permit and area clearance.
The fisherfolk group also raised suspicion that the assembly was only a ‘formalization’ process to make it appear that there was a public consultation happened but in actual reality, there might be already a done deal between the DENR and LGU to push through with the reclamation project.
“The DENR must heed the fishers’ call to refrain from facilitating processes of reclamation including this public scoping. It is not enough that the DENR will only publicly announce that they will not let reclamation projects when what happens in the ground is that they provide venue to proponents to present such projects. This is not the rehabilitation we want for Manila Bay, but a genuine one that will benefit us,” ended Candinato. ###