Gina Lopez

Fisherfolk slams CA-ruling on Laguna Lake fishpens

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Fisherfolk slams CA-ruling on Laguna Lake fishpensimg_20170213_103812

Manila, Philippines – The militant fisherfolk group Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (PAMALAKAYA-Pilipinas) on Sunday slams the Court of Appeals (CA) over its decision to abort the government’s campaign against vast-tracts of fishpens in the 90-thousand hectare Laguna de Bay, saying the decision is a complete turnaround on the order of President Rodrigo Duterte to open the biggest lake to small-fisherfolk.

Based on the report of the Laguna Lake Development Authority (LLDA), at least 1,600 hectares of privately-owned fishpens have been demolished since the government launched an unprecedented campaign against wide fishpens in Laguna de Bay last year to pave way for the restoration of the polluted lake and bring back the traditional common use of its fishing waters to small-fisherfolk.

We are enraged by the treacherous ruling of the Court of Appeals, the Laguna Lake fisherfolk have been looking forward for the complete clearing of fishpens in the lake. For years, the Laguna de Bay have been occupied by wide fishpens owned by fishing corporations and private individuals including ex-military generals and local politicians. The CA-ruling shows that vested interest of few giant fishing firms and individuals prevail over the collective clamor of fisherfolk for their right to fishing grounds,” Fernando Hicap, PAMALAKAYA Chairperson said in a statement, also blaming the proliferation of fishpens for the pollution of the lake because it uses chemical based feeds to culture fish.

The group also lashed out at the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) and its attached agency, the LLDA for failing to uphold the campaign that was started by former DENR Secretary Gina Lopez.

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“Mining magnates run DENR, MICC” – fisherfolk group

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Mining magnates run DENR, MICC” – fisherfolk group

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 –We strongly condemn Environment Secretary Roy Cimatu for auctioning our environment to big-time mining corporations by lifting the ban on open-pit mining,”

This was the statement of the militant fisherfolk group Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (PAMALAKAYA-Pilipinas) calling out Environment Secretary Roy Cimatu for reversing the policy of former Secretary Gina Lopez to ban open-pit mining operations during her term.

Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Secretary Roy Cimatu on Tuesday lifted the ban after meeting with the interagency Mining Industry Coordinating Council (MICC), which Cimatu and Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez co-chair the government body.

We are enraged by how Secretary Cimatu and the members of the MICC have fast tracked the reversal of policy on open-pit mining. We are against open-pit mining because it effectively devastates the delicate environment, contaminates watersheds and other coastal areas, and moreover, it destroys the livelihood of farmers and fisherfolk in the countryside,” Fernando Hicap, PAMALAKAYA Chairperson said in a statement.

The group said by institutionalizing the open-pit mining, Cimatu has not only scrapped the pro-environment policies of his predecessor Gina Lopez, but he also blatantly neglects the cry for social justice of rural people who have been affected and displaced by the destructive mining activity.

The fisherfolk group also blames President Rodrigo Duterte for keeping mum on the DENR’s approved policy.

It’s all on President Duterte and his Cabinet members who have direct and indirect mining interests like Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez who has been staunch against Lopez’ ban order. It seems President Duterte’s anti-open-pit mining position before has now been swayed by his economic cluster,” said Hicap.

According to environmental activist Kalikasan People’s Network for the Environment, the Dominguez clan has stakes in mining companies, such as Alsons, Sagitarrius Mines, Lafayette Philippines, United Paragon Mining, and Philex Mining.

It is now crystal clear that the environment department is back at the hands of giant mining oligarchs and private developers,”

“We hold President Duterte, Roy Cimatu, and every members of the MICC accountable for this flagrant betrayal and disrespect on the socio-economic rights and welfare of the people by allowing big-time mining firms to plunder our resources,” ended Hicap. ###

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. ###

Fisherfolk laments suspension of ECC-restriction

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Fisherfolk laments suspension of ECC-restriction

PHILIPPINES-IRAQ-DEFENCE
DENR Secretary Roy Cimatu | AFP PHOTO/JAY DIRECTO / AFP PHOTO / JAY DIRECTO

Manila, Philippines – The militant fisherfolk group Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (PAMALAKAYA-Pilipinas) on Friday chided at the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Secretary Roy Cimatu for scrapping the order of his predecessor Gina Lopez to restrict the issuance of environmental compliance certificates (ECC) for both environmentally critical projects (ECPs) and non-ECPs.

Under the DENR Administrative Order (DAO) No. 2017-18, Secretary Cimatu suspends Lopez’ DAO No. 2017-04 to fast track issuance of environmental certificates to the regional level. Under Lopez’ DAO, only the DENR Secretary has the sole authority to issue ECCs for both ECPs and non-ECPs within environmentally critical areas (ECAs). This was Lopez’ efforts to alleviate corruption and anomalous issuances of environmental permits to destructive projects like large-scale mining. But Cimatu gives back the authority to issue such permits back to the regional directors of the Environmental Management Bureau (EMB).

For its part, the fisherfolk group was dismayed by the present DENR Secretary’s order, saying this would be business as usual for the mining and developing magnates who are in league with unscrupulous and corrupt DENR regional directors that can easily acquire ECC for their destructive projects.

We are not incognizant to the fact that big-time developers and mining companies manage to acquire environmental certificates despite their destructive type of business because of their secret connivance with corrupt DENR regional directors,” Fernando Hicap, PAMALAKAYA Chairperson said in a statement.

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Duterte’s unstable promises; one-year assessment on President Duterte

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Duterte’s unstable promises
Fisherfolk’s one-year assessment to President DuterteIMG_20161007_103319.jpg

Manila, Philippines – “Among the prominent achievement of President Rodrigo Duterte within one year in his office is the unprecedented order to demolish vast tracts of fishpens in Laguna de Bay, which for years deprived the small fisherfolk of their communal fishing ground. The campaign was spearheaded by then environment Secretary Gina Lopez. We monitor that more than 1,000 hectares of fishpens have been demolished from the time of former Secretary Lopez, until she was rejected by the powerful Commission on Appointments (CA) and her position was taken over by ex-military Chief Roy Cimatu, where the campaign started by Lopez, by our knowledge is currently put on halt,” Fernando Hicap, Chairperson of fisherfolk group Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (PAMALAKAYA-Pilipinas) said in a statement.

On our sovereignty, we welcome President Duterte’s efforts to hold diplomatic negotiations with China resulting to the return of Filipino fisherfolk in Scarborough Shoal, after almost four years of being denied access to their traditional fishing zone due to intense Chinese militarization and hostility. But even so, the effort of President Duterte is not enough for China to completely surrender its irrational claim over our waters. Contrary to his promise, PresidentDuterte softens his assertion to China to stop its reclamation and leave the Philippine waters,” added Hicap.

President Duterte has been mum on the long-time clamor of the fisherfolk to junk the almost two decades Fisheries Code of 1998, which was amended in time of President Benigno Aquino III through the Republic Act 10654. The hefty fines and strict fishing rules of the amended fisheries law afflict the fishing sector into deeper poverty. With the amended Fisheries Code, small-fishers today endure the heavy taxation and registration fees under the Boat Registration (BoatR) and Fish Registration (FishR) programs where they are compelled to enlist their fishing gears and even themselves to the local government only to be considered by the fisheries bureau as legal fisherfolk,” said Hicap.

We are not surprised on why the administration pursues and actually widens the National Reclamation Program (NRP) and the Public-Private Partnership (PPP) which consists of multifold infrastructure projects. The “Dutertenomics” or the administration’s economic program focuses on major infrastructures largely funded by China. Some of the projects are land-based while some will be built on top of the water through reclamation and conversion of fishing waters. NRP consists of more than 100 reclamation projects covering 40,000 hectares of waters throughout the archipelago. These reclamation projects if completed would result to displacement of millions of fisherfolk and coastal settlers from their livelihood to pave way for private and even government projects,” Hicap lamented.

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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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Fisherfolk unsatisfied over DENR Chief Cimatu’s say on Nickelodeon project

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Fisherfolk unsatisfied over DENR Chief Cimatu’s say on Nickelodeon project200303113-cimatu-roy-afp.jpg

Manila, Philippines – The fisherfolk under the group Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (PAMALAKAYA-Pilipinas) is not pleased with the statement of Environment Secretary Roy Cimatu on the proposed Nickelodeon underwater-theme Park in Palawan.

The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) on Friday said it will first conduct a “thorough inquiry regarding the proposed project” as they await the formal request of the said project.

In a statement, PAMALAKAYA said they expect Secretary Cimatu to oppose the project without reservation because it is no doubt that the project will pose environmental disaster to the country’s last ecological frontier.

Experts and environmentalists have already proven the adverse impact of this project, whether underwater or land-based, will bring to the marine environment for it will cause ecological disturbance to its marine biodiversity and ecosystem.

Although we welcome Secretary Cimatu’s immediate response on the project, we are not that satisfied. We find his statement playing safe and dilly dallying on the looming threat of development destruction to our marine environment. What we want is for the new DENR administration to outrightly defy the project and extend his support to the fisherfolk who will be economically affected if the project will proceed,” Fernando Hicap, PAMALAKAYA Chairperson said in a statement.

PAMALAKAYA recognizes former Environment Chief Gina Lopez’ stiff position against the proposed project where she even declared Palawan province as off-limits to destructive projects.

We remind Secretary Cimatu of Gina Lopez’ good deeds when she was still the top environment official. Why can’t Cimatu be like his predecessor who has indisputable concern for the environment and the people,” added Hicap.

The fisherfolk group likewise urges the Palawan Council for Sustainable Development (PSCD) to deplore the project. PSCD is a government body that focuses on environment conservation and inclusive development in the province of Palawan.

Our fishing hub is not krusty krab; it is a home to more than 300 coral species and more than 1,500 fish species in the country that benefits not only the fisherfolk but every single population who relies on fish as primary protein source. It should remain as it is. Once we convert the area from its traditional use, there is no way that we can bring back its original and bountiful ecosystem,” Hicap said.

The 400-hectare controversial underwater theme park in Coron, Palawan which drew flak from environmentalists, netizens, and fisherfolk organizations is still being pushed by its proponents – the Coral World Park Undersea Resorts and the Viacom International Media Networks, according to the Department of Tourism (DOT). ###