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BFAR challenged to defy reclamation plan in Manila Bay fish conservation areas

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BFAR challenged to defy reclamation plan in Manila Bay fish conservation areasDSC_2871.JPG

Manila, Philippines – “If there is a government agency that should oppose reclamation projects, it must be the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) that has declared some parts of Manila Bay as fish conservation areas,” according to the activist fisherfolk group Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (PAMALAKAYA-Pilipinas) demanding the BFAR to back the sentiments of the fisherfolk against reclamation projects in Manila Bay.

Data from the BFAR shows that there is an existing conservation area for sardines in the southeastern part of Manila Bay which numerous reclamation projects will be found – including the 318-hectare Manila Waterfront City, the 419-hectare Horizon Manila, the 407.42-hectare New Manila Bay International Community, and the 50-hectare expansion of Manila Harbour Centre. The BFAR-declared conservation area, the group further added, lies the concentrations of fish larvae, phytoplankton, nitrate, nitrite, phosphate, and silicate that all play a significant role to the marine ecosystem.

Reclamation will effectively destroy the same amount of sea grasses and soft-bottom communities that serve as the spawning ground and habitat of variety of marine life. Moreover, they are the primary sources of livelihood for fisherfolk and food supply for the entire country. Allowing reclamation projects to happen will defeat the purpose of the government programs to conserve fish species and other marine resources. The BFAR should issue a public statement denouncing the reclamation projects pending throughout the Manila Bay and advance the protection of its marine life to improve fisheries productivity,” Fernando Hicap, PAMALAKAYA National Chairperson said in a statement.

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Placing PRA under Office of the President to expedite Manila Bay reclamation – fisherfolk 

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News release
February 4, 2019DSC_2840.JPG
Placing PRA under Office of the President to expedite Manila Bay reclamation – fisherfolk
Manila, Philippines — “It is only becoming more and more apparent that behind the efforts to rehabilitate Manila Bay is the Duterte government’s cynical plan to further privatize it in a form of an environmentally-destructive reclamation,” According to the fisherfolk group Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (PAMALAKAYA-Pilipinas) reacting to the move of President Rodrigo Duterte to transfer power of National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) to approve reclamation to the Philippine Reclamation Authority (PRA), and placing the latter from the supervision of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) to the Office of the President (OP) through an Executive Order  No. 74.
Although PAMALAKAYA supports rehabilitation of Manila Bay, the fisherfolk group said the Duterte’s recent move has only raised doubt from the fishing sector about the real score of the unprecedented government campaign to rehabilitate Manila Bay.
“This newly-signed executive order will hasten not only the approval of reclamation projects in Manila Bay and throughout the archipelago, but as well as the destruction of marine environment and displacement of fishing communities,” Fernando Hicap, PAMALAKAYA National Chairperson said.
PAMALAKAYA has recorded a total of 43 reclamation projects from the PRA that will cover almost 30,000 hectares of waters of Manila Bay, including the 3 reclamation projects recently approved by the local government of Manila.
“By signing the EO, the Duterte government openly admits to the public that the Manila Bay clean-up drive will only be a waste of public funds and government efforts because they will open the historic bay for business and commercial transformation afterwards,”
“We reiterate our position of support to the Manila Bay rehabilitation as long as we are assured that reclamation will not push through and that no single coastal family will be forcibly displaced from their community,” ended Hicap. ###

Bacoor fishers picketed DENR’s ‘public scoping’ for reclamation

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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. ###

Use rehab fund to restore mangroves in Manila Bay, DENR urged

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News release

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A scenic view of Taliptip in Bulakan, Bulacan
January 21, 2019
Use rehab fund to restore mangroves in Manila Bay, DENR urged
Manila, Philippines — “The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) should instead use the P47-billion Manila Bay rehabilitation fund to restore mangroves, sea grasses, and coral reefs that were destroyed by past and present projects for development aggression,” According to the militant fishers group Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (PAMALAKAYA) on Monday.
The DENR has been launching a clean-up campaign in the historic bay, but the fisherfolk group lambasted one of its first phases that includes demolition of at least 300,000 settlers, including fisherfolk who subsist in Manila Bay by fishing.
“We reiterate our position and very strong support in the rehabilitation drive of Manila Bay to restore its traditional use as fishing grounds for small fisherfolk. But ejecting us out from the coastal areas only to give way to reclamation projects will be met with strong resistance from the fishing and coastal sector. Rehabilitation should benefit us, not violate our socio-economic rights, it should restore Manila Bay’s ecosystem, not further destroy,” Fernando Hicap, National Chairperson of PAMALAKAYA and a fisherman in Manila Bay said.
PAMALAKAYA said the P47-billion budget is more than enough to install mangrove forests that serve as fish sanctuary and pollution filter.
The fisherfolk group claimed that thousands of hectares of mangroves were destroyed before to give way for commercial and industrial hubs. From decades ago until 1995, the group further noted, mangrove areas in Manila Bay used to cover 54, 000 hectares but they have significantly shrunk to 2,000 hectares and at present, only less-than-a-500-hectare is left.
“Now the remaining coastal periphery of mangroves, salt marshes, and diverse biodiversity in Metro Manila known as the Freedom Island is threatened with the reclamation of 635-hectare Las Piñas-Parañaque Critical Habitat and Ecotourism Area (LPPCHEA) project. This systematic and corporate-driven destruction of our environment has to stop,” ended Hicap. ###

Manila Bay fishers protested Manila Bay reclamation disguised as ‘rehabilitation’

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News Release

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Manila Bay fishers protested DENR’s pseudo-rehabilitation

January 18, 2019

Manila Bay fishers protested Manila Bay reclamation disguised as ‘rehabilitation’

Manila, Philippines – Manila Bay fishers under the group Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (PAMALAKAYA-Pilipinas) on Friday trooped the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) head office to protest the pseudo-rehabilitation of Manila Bay that includes demolition of at least 300, 000 fisherfolk and settlers.

PAMALAKAYA, along with the residents of Manila Bay and environmental activist group Kalikasan People’s Network for the Environment urged environment secretary Roy Cimatu to craft a genuine rehabilitation program that will restore Manila Bay back to its traditional use as fishing grounds, and not to further transform it into a vast commercial and tourism hub at the expense of its marine ecosystem and hundreds of thousands of population residing around it.

Manila Bay is deteriorating, don’t get us wrong. We are the ones who suffer from the effects of its environmental degradation on a regular fishing basis. But wiping us out from Manila Bay to give way for its further privatization will do more harm to its ecosystem than good. Ever since that reclamation and conversion have become the government and corporate craze, massive mangrove forests have been uprooted and productive coral reefs were destroyed. Fish catch has dramatically declined to 2-5 kilos every fishing trip,” Fernando Hicap, PAMALAKAYA National Chairperson and a fisherman in Manila Bay lamented during the protest.

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Fishers urged DENR to declare Manila Bay a ‘reclamation-free zone’

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January 14, 2019

Fishers urged DENR to declare Manila Bay a ‘reclamation-free zone’

Manila, Philippines – The activist fisherfolk group Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (PAMALAKAYA-Pilipinas) on Monday urged the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) to perform its mandate in protecting the environment, including the Manila Bay by declaring it as a reclamation-free zone. This, the group added, is to effectively rehabilitate one of the country’s major fishing grounds which currently suffer from environmental degradation stage caused by past and present privatization projects.

The fisherfolk group earlier lambasted the DENR for using the issue of pollution to demolish hundreds of thousands of residents, mostly fisherfolk and pave way for large-scale land reclamation projects. PAMALAKAYA casts doubt on the seriousness of the DENR to rehabilitate Manila Bay, when the said agency has keep on facilitating processes of reclamation, including providing environmental permits to proponents and private developers.

Just last week, one of our municipal chapters had acquired a notice of public scoping from the DENR to facilitate the proposal of a local government unit to reclaim 420 hectares of Manila Bay in the part of Bacoor, Cavite. While environment secretary Roy Cimatu blames Manila Bay residents of disposing garbage and domestic wastes in the sea, he failed to address on the other hand the lethal risk of massive reclamation projects to the marine environment and ecosystem. Reclamation has caused the traditional fish and shellfish species in Manila Bay to get extinct because coral reefs and mangrove forests have been destroyed to give way to commercial business districts and private establishments which only benefit giant businesses,” Fernando Hicap, PAMALAKAYA National Chairperson said in a statement.

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Imported GG poses health risk to humans – fisherfolk

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Imported GG poses health risk to humans – fisherfolk

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Protest in front of BFAR central office against importation of galunggong

Manila, Philippines – “Not only that imported, frozen round scad (galunggong) is no longer fresh, but also a health risk for consumers because they are often contaminated with formalin to make them last long,” according to the fisherfolk group Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (PAMALAKAYA-Pilipinas), warning the public not to patronize and oppose the importation of 17,000 metric tons of galunggong approved by the Department of Agriculture (DA) and the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR).

Both DA and BFAR obviously don’t care about the welfare of the people; aside from we will be fed with stale fish (bilasa), our health will be put at risk. It is already a fact that majority of imported frozen marine products especially coming from China are tainted with formalin, a chemical primarily used to preserve cadavers. Just imagine if this chemical will be infused into the food that we eat!” Fernando Hicap, PAMALAKAYA Chairperson said in a statement.

Scientific studies said that formalin is highly toxic and pose short-term health effects to humans including coughing, wheezing, nausea, irritation of skin, nose, and throat; while long term effect may lead to leukemia and cancer.

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