Fisherfolk asks probe into marine sanctuaries in Surigao del Norte
Manila, Philippines – Fisherfolk under the group Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (PAMALAKAYA-Pilipinas) on Thursday urged the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Secretary Roy Cimatu to investigate the existing marine sanctuaries illegally operating in the province of Surigao del Norte that covers more than 600 hectares of its fishing waters.
Marine sanctuary in the municipality of General Luna covers 580 hectares in spite that the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) only approved 200 hectares of sanctuary in the town. While in the municipality of San Isidro, there is an existing 33 hectares of marine sanctuary and another 30 hectares for expansion will be opened soon.
Marine Sanctuaries are designated areas declared by the BFAR where all types of fishing activities are prohibited in order to preserve marine species and give fish time to spawn. However, according to PAMALAKAYA, marine sanctuaries often lead to privatization and conversion of fishing waters into eco-tourism zones
The declared marine sanctuaries in Surigao del Norte now showcase leisure activities like boat riding, surfing, scuba diving, and sport fishing for local and foreign tourists.
“While we are being denied access from our traditional fishing zone, the local government unit opens the area to rest and recreation hub for tourists. This is the reason why we don’t buy the idea that marine sanctuaries are for the interest of small fisherfolk, because we know that the real score behind this sanctuaries is to transform the traditional use of fishing waters into money-making business both of the local government and investors,” Leopoldo Pelinta, PAMALAKAYA-Surigao del Norte Spokesperson said in a statement.
The group also contests the claim of BFAR that marine sanctuaries is for marine life protection, saying the bureau’s designated sea patrols or bantay dagat prohibit only small fishermen while inutile to destructive large-scale commercial fishing vessels. Ring net and Superlight fishing are prevalent in the municipal waters even within the declared marine sanctuaries, they are destructive especially the Superlight because it paralyzes and blinds the fish once its lamp submerge into the water. They are owned by influential politicians and individuals in the province.
Local fishermen in the province also notice the change of pattern of fish species in the region, like depletion of fish capture and loss of several fish species they used to catch before.
“How can you protect the marine environment if you convert its traditional use as a fishing ground? Eco-tourism results to ecosystem imbalance because you disturb the habitat of fish and other marine life,”
New demolition order threatens fishing community in Cavite
Maragondon, Cavite – The fisherfolk group Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (PAMALAKAYA-Pilipinas) decries the recent demolition order served by the Naic Regional Trial Court (RTC) through the residents of Brgy. Patungan, Maragondon Cavite on May 12. Brgy. Patungan or Sta. Mercedes is a 602-hectare fishing community in Maragondon and is a home to more than 300 fisherfolk and peasant families. It is being claimed by the Maria Theresa Virata (MTV) Realty Corp.
Patungan has been sold by the MTV Realty Corp. to Manila Southcoast Development Corp. (MSDC), a developing firm owned by business tycoon Henry Sy who is about to convert Patungan into an eco-tourism hub or extension of his private beach resorts in the adjacent Hacienda Looc in Nasugbu, Batangas.
PAMALAKAYA recalled the first attempt of demolition on August last year that turned violent when around 800 combined elements of Philippine National Police (PNP), Philippine Air Force (PAF) and Virata’s private security guards surrounded and harassed the community to execute the demolition. The demolition failed through the strong resistance of the residents who defended their community and houses.
According to Dole Tambungon, a fisherman from Patungan and Spokesperson of PAMALAKAYA in Southern Tagalog, even they have frustrated the demolition attempt, private security guards and numerous police and military elements remain near their community. Tambungon said their presence creates fear and intimidation to the residents.
“If the demolition will proceed, it will displace hundreds of fishing families not only from our homes but also from our livelihood. Our forefathers have been living here for centuries; we will not let any private developing firm to suddenly take what is rightfully and morally ours,” Tambungon said in a statement.
PAMALAKAYA said they will continue to oppose any reclamation and conversion projects that destroy the marine environment and moreover, the socio-economic rights and welfare of the fisherfolk. ###
EARTHDAY ACTION: Fisherfolk, environmentalists back top environment chief on pro-people, pro-environment policies
EARTHDAY ACTION: Fisherfolk, environmentalists back top environment chief on
pro-people, pro-environment policies
Manila, Philippines – Gathering at the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) head office in Quezon, City, the fisherfolk group Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (PAMALAKAYA-Pilipinas) and environmental activist Kalikasan People’s Network for the Environment (KALIKASAN) on Earth Day pushed Environment Secretary Gina Lopez to continue its pro-environment and pro-people policies, namely, the suspension of numerous large-scale mining operations that rampantly destroy the environment and the demolition of vast-tract of fishpens in Laguna de Bay that pollute its aquatic resources.
“It is first time in our history that our environment Czar has prioritized the interest of the people and the environment over the narrow interest of the oligarchs. We laud Secretary Lopez’s persistent campaign against giant mining firms that destroy our mountains, forests and seas. Her anti-fishpen campaign is also highly notable as it is a long-time demand of the Laguna de Bay fishers whom for decades have been deprived of their common fishing grounds,” Fernando Hicap, PAMALAKAYA Chairperson said during the protest.
Although welcoming Lopez’s actions, the fisherfolk group urges Lopez to also show objection against widespread reclamation and conversion of fishing waters that transform its productive fishing ground into private business ventures at the expense of its fragile marine environment and livelihood of the fisherfolk and coastal settlers.
U.S. Pentagon runs AFP – fisherfolk group
Manila, Philippines – With the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) continuation of its hostilities in the countryside despite the ongoing peace negotiations with the Government of the Republic of the Philippines (GRP) and the communist-led National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP), it is crystal clear that President Rodrigo Duterte is out of hand with his armed troops, said the militant fisherfolk group Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (PAMALAKAYA-Pilipinas) on Wednesday.
The fisherfolk group slams the AFP for its ongoing presence in Brgy. Patungan, a 602-hectare coastal community in Maragondon, Cavite where 353 fisherfolk families have been facing a threat of demolition since last year to pave way for private beach resort of the Maria Teresa Virata (MTV) Corp.
On Friday, the regional chapter of PAMALAKAYA in Southern Tagalog reported the presence of around 80 combination of Philippine National Police (PNP) and Philippine Air Force (PAF) in the community. The residents feared the presence of the armed troops might lead to another violent demolition attempt like what happened last year.
Fisherfolk wants LLDA anti-fish pen resolution revised
Manila, Philippines – Responding from the sentiments of the Laguna de Bay fishers that small fish cages and fish traps (baklad) will not be spared from the government’s campaign against wide-fish pens in the 90-thousand hectares brackish lake, the militant fisherfolk group Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (PAMALAKAYA-Pilipinas) demands the Laguna Lake Development Authority (LLDA) to revise its Board Resolution 518.
The Board Resolution No. 518 Series of 2017 was approved on February 1, 2017 in accordance with President Rodrigo Duterte’s order to dismantle vast-tracts of fish pens in Laguna de Bay for the utilization of small and municipal fisherfolk. The Board Resolution states that wide-fish pens, fish cages and fish corrals will be dismantled to restore the lake.
The campaign against wide fish pens was lauded by the small fisherfolk from Laguna de Bay because this will bring back their common fishing grounds that were monopolized by big-aquaculture firms and individuals for years. However, they also fear that even small fish cages and fish traps/corrals known as baklad that are owned by small fisherfolk will be demolished.
Fisherfolk hits proposed power-plant project in Sariaya
Sariaya, Quezon – The municipal chapter of the fisherfolk group Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (PAMALAKAYA-Pilipinas) in Sariaya, Quezon opposes the proposed power plant by the San Miguel Corp. (SMC) which plan to construct along the town’s four coastal barangays, namely, Barangay Guisguis Talon, Guisguis San Roque, Castanas and Talaan Aplaya.
The proposed project has yet to release its details but according to Sariaya Mayor Marcelo Gayeta during a pre-dialogue with the fisherfolk leaders on Monday, he had held a meeting with representatives of SMC regarding the planned power plant after he assumed his post last year.
“Our municipal Mayor has already revealed that SMC plans to construct its power plant in our coastal community at the cost of our right to livelihood and shelter,” Virgilio Sabate, PAMALAKAYA-Sariaya Chairperson said in a statement.
PAMALAKAYA-Saraya said the project would mean to displace more than 15,000 fisherfolk and coastal residents in Sariaya. The fisherfolk group said they have received warning last year that they should vacate their community for their land was already sold to an unidentified businessman.