Department of Environment and Natural Resources

Fisherfolk opposes confirmation of Roy Cimatu

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Fisherfolk opposes confirmation of Roy Cimatu

PHILIPPINES-IRAQ-DEFENCE
Retired armed forces chief, Roy Cimatu (L), head of the Philippines’ Iraqi crisis management team, confers with National Security Adviser Roilo Golez during a briefing at the National Security Council in suburban Quezon, north of Manila, 11 March 2003. Cimatu has instructed the Philippine embassy staff in Baghdad to relocated to Amman in Jordan amid signs of an imminent US-led war on Iraq. AFP PHOTO/JAY DIRECTO / AFP PHOTO / JAY DIRECTO

Manila, Philippines – The militant fisherfolk group Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (PAMALAKAYA-Pilipinas) opposes the confirmation of Roy Cimatu as Secretary to the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR).

Cimatu’s confirmation hearing was deferred on September 20 after the Commission on Appointments (CA) decided to review the issues raised by the oppositors against the environment secretary.

For its part, the fisherfolk group rejects the confirmation of the environment chief for allowing reclamation activities to continue; an opposite of his predecessor Gina Lopez who refrained from issuing environmental compliance certificates (ECC) to any reclamation projects due to environmental catastrophe it would pose to marine environment and livelihood of the fisherfolk.

Cimatu has completely aborted the positive reforms of Gina Lopez in the environment department. He brings the DENR back to its traditional orientation as the number one facilitator of destructive projects at the expense of the environment and the livelihood of the people,” Fernando Hicap, PAMALAKAYA Chairperson said in a statement.

Presently, there are more than 100 reclamation projects approved by the Philippine Reclamation Authority (PRA), an attached agency of the DENR, covering almost 40,000 hectares of coastal areas throughout the country. All reclamation projects need to acquire ECC from the DENR to proceed.

We strongly oppose the confirmation of Roy Cimatu as top environment chief. He is morally and politically not suitable to head the environment department due to his corruption-tainted track record and a notorious defender of environmental plunderers while he was still a military officer of the Philippine Army,”

“We want no less than the likes of Gina Lopez to lead the environment department in order to continue pro-environment reforms that are also beneficial to the Filipino people,” Hicap said.

The continuation of confirmation hearing of Secretary Cimatu is scheduled today. ###

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Fisherfolk staged State of the Fishers’ Address (SOFA) to assess President Duterte

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Fisherfolk staged State of the Fishers’ Address (SOFA) to assess President DuterteDSC_0622.JPG

Manila, Philippines – In the form of street press conference, fisherfolk under the group Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (PAMALAKAYA-Pilipinas) on Friday staged its first State of the Fishers’ Address (SOFA) at the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) to deliver their one-year assessment on the administration of President Rodrigo Duterte, as well as to air their concerns regarding the fishing sector that the administration still needs to adhere.

Fisherfolk from Laguna de Bay, Manila Bay and Southern Tagalog region gathered to bring their respective yet common issues besetting their fishing communities. Some of the key points of the assessment were the issue of sovereignty, Laguna Lake rehabilitation, and reclamation of fishing waters.

The fisherfolk group gave a satisfactory rating on President Duterte regarding the Laguna Lake rehabilitation due to his unprecedented order to demolish vast tracts of fish pens in the 90-thousand hectare brackish lake. But the group also criticized the government’s “ningas kugon” approach on the order especially after the Secretary of DENR has been replaced by former military Chief Roy Cimatu where demolition of fish pens has been set aside.

The group urged the present administration of DENR to still pursue the clearing out of fish pens in Laguna de Bay to give time for its ecological system to restore and let the small fisherfolk savor its aquatic resources.

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Fisherfolk wants wider coverage of SC’s Manila Bay mandamus ruling

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Fisherfolk wants wider coverage of SC’s Manila Bay mandamus rulingDSC_0436.JPG

Manila, Philippines – The national alliance of fisherfolk Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (PAMALAKAYA-Pilipinas) urges the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) to raise to the Supreme Court (SC) to broaden the coverage of its continuing mandamus order in Manila Bay and not to use the Higher Court’s order to wipe out fishing communities and poor settlers along the gulf.

The SC on December 18, 2008 ordered a writ of mandamus to 14 government agencies to clean up, rehabilitate, and preserve Manila Bay, and restore and maintain its waters to SB level (Class B sea waters per Water Classification Tables of the DENR) to make it fit for swimming, skin diving, and other forms of contact recreation. DENR as the lead of the 14 mandamus agencies was directed to fully implement its Operational Plan for the Manila Bay Coastal Strategy (OPMBCS) for the conservation and rehabilitation of Manila Bay. DENR Secretary Roy Cimatu last June instructed the Manila Bay Coordinating Office (MBCO) and his officials to fast track the implementation of the SC ruling.

In a statement, PAMALAKAYA said the rehabilitation and total clean-up of Manila Bay is long overdue. In effect, small fishers for decades endures the trend of fish-catch depletion from 10-15 kilos average fish catch per day down to 2-5 kilos of average catch on a daily basis.

We support the objective of the Honorable Court’s mandamus to rehabilitate and preserve Manila Bay in the context of it will order commercial and industrial establishments to regulate its dumping of chemical and toxic wastes on Manila Bay which comprise 75% of its pollution. The goal of the mandamus to maintain Manila Bay to SB level should not only to make its waters fit for swimming and recreational use, but moreover to restore its abundant marine and fish species for the livelihood of small-fisherfolk therein,” Fernando Hicap, PAMALAKAYA Chairperson said in a statement.

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Fisherfolk welcomes seed distribution in Laguna de Bay, calls to pursue fishpen demolition

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Fisherfolk welcomes seed distribution in Laguna de Bay, calls to pursue fishpen vlcsnap-2017-03-12-20h15m55s860demolition

Manila, Philippines – The national fisherfolk alliance Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (PAMALAKAYA-Pilipinas) on Wednesday acknowledged the government’s dispersal of 5 million fingerlings in Laguna de Bay through the Department of Agriculture (DA) and the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR). The restocking of native fish species in the 90-thousand hectare brackish lake is part of the government’s campaign to rehabilitate inland waters such as lakes and rivers.

In a statement, the fisherfolk group said the seeding in Laguna de Bay is a welcome development for this will temporarily support the livelihood of small fisherfolk and fishworkers who were affected by the government’s campaign to demolish vast tracts of fish pens in the lake.

PAMALAKAYA together with environment alliance Save Laguna Lake Movement (SLLM) raised the demand to distribute fingerlings to the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) during the term of its former Secretary Gina Lopez. This is to solve the prevailing problem in the lake of fish catch depletion and to assure the fishworkers who lost livelihood due to fishpen demolition that once they return to open fishing, there will be enough fish to catch.

We are grateful that the government grants the demand of the fisherfolk for livelihood support. We still call for more fingerling-dispersal drive to convince the fisherfolk to return to traditional mode of fishing instead of being employed in private aquacultures in exchange for paltry allowance,” Fernando Hicap, PAMALAKAYA Chairperson said in a statement.

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With or without Lopez, demolition of fishpens in Laguna de Bay must proceed – PAMALAKAYA

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With or without Lopez, demolition of fishpens in Laguna de Bay must proceed – img_20170109_101828PAMALAKAYA

Manila, Philippines – Despite the rejection on the confirmation of Environment Secretary Gina Lopez on her post by the Commission on Appointments (CA) on May 3, the national fisherfolk group Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (PAMALAKAYA-Pilipinas) still pushes President Rodrigo Duterte and the Laguna Lake Development Authority (LLDA) to continue its anti-fishpen campaign in the 90 thousand hectares brackish Laguna de Bay which was spearheaded by Secretary Lopez.

We lament the rejection of Secretary Lopez as Environment Secretary; we have lost a dependable ally against large-scale mines that destroy the environment and the livelihood of the rural people. She shows that she is the most competent Environment Chief by standing firm against powerful giant mines without hesitation. She is also committed on seeking consultations with the grassroots to hear their views on government and corporate projects that will affect their civil and economic rights,” Fernando Hicap, PAMALAKAYA Chairperson said in a statement.

PAMALAKAYA said the campaign to dismantle vast-tract of fishpens in Laguna de Bay kicked off on January 27 where based on the data of LLDA, more than 1,000 hectares of aquaculture structures have been already ejected from the lake. But the fisherfolk group said it is not enough to restore the degrading lake for almost 60% of its total size is still occupied by wide fishpens owned by private corporations and individuals.

The government must continue to chase down thousands of hectares of fishpens owned by few big-time fishing firms and powerful individuals; some are local politicians and military generals conniving with the local government units and corrupt LLDA officials to monopolize and grab the rich fishing ground of small fisherfolk,” said Hicap.

The fisherfolk group said aside from dismantling of fishpens, Secretary Lopez was also convinced by the fisherfolk to stop all the reclamation activities in Laguna Lake that primarily contribute to its pollution and degradation and in order to rehabilitate the lake.

Whoever succeeds Secretary Lopez on her post should continue the pro-people policies that Lopez has started. We are already fed up by a traditional Environment Chief that is incompetent enough to prevent environmental plunderers from their destructive corporate activities at the cost of fragile environment and people’s lives,” ended Hicap. ###

EARTHDAY ACTION: Fisherfolk, environmentalists back top environment chief on pro-people, pro-environment policies

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EARTHDAY ACTION: Fisherfolk, environmentalists back top environment chief on

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Fishers, environment activists on Earth Day picketed DENR to push the agency for pro-people and pro-environment policies

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.

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Fishpen demolition won’t lead to food insecurity, conversion will

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Fishpen demolition won’t lead to food insecurity, conversion willDSC_0016

Manila, Philippines – The militant fisherfolk group Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (PAMALAKAYA-Pilipinas) on Tuesday clarified that the campaign to demolish vast-tracts of fish pens in Laguna de Bay will not affect the food security in the country as long as it would be followed by a proper rehabilitation of the lake that would bring back its natural ecology.

The government through Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Secretary Gina Lopez is leading a national campaign to liberate the 90-thousand hectare brackish lake from private and corporate-owned fish pens. This is in accordance with President Rodrigo Duterte’s order to let small fisherfolk maximize and benefit from the lake, whom for years have been deprived of their communal fishing grounds due to fish pen proliferation.

Several fish pen structures have been ejected since January including the Gozon-owned fish pens in Cardona, Rizal measuring 100 hectares.

The fisherfolk group seen this campaign as a welcomed development for the restoration of Laguna de Bay for it will initially unwind the lake from further degradation caused by chemical-based pellet feeds use in culturing fish. Read the rest of this entry »