PAMALAKAYA PILIPINAS

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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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. ###

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

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News ReleaseDSC_1372.JPG
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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Keep imported GG off our plates, Piñol told

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Keep imported GG off our plates, Piñol told

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Press conference at the House of Representatives to oppose the importation of rice and fish through tariffication

Manila, Philippines – In a press conference held at the House of Representatives on Wednesday, former Anakpawis Party-list Representative and now National Chairperson of the fisherfolk group Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (PAMALAKAYA-Pilipinas) Fernando Hicap slammed the proposal of Department of Agriculture (DA) Secretary Emmanuel Piñol to allow importation of round scad (galunggong) for direct sale to market before to the closed fishing season on November, saying flooding the local market with imported fish products will further downgrade the value of aquatic and marine products of Filipino fisherfolk.

Piñol said he would be allowing not only traders, but also fisherfolk and fish vendors associations to import.

Piñol’s proposal is absurd; he knows that small fisherfolk are incapable of importing fish and only commercial fishing firms and giant traders will only benefit from this import-dependent scheme. Piñol will facilitate the profit-generation of traders and importers at the cost of livelihood of Filipino fishers,”

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Fishers hit unlimited imports of rice and fish through QR lifting, zero tariff

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Fishers hit unlimited imports of rice and fish through QR lifting, zero tariffphil_182537.jpg

Manila, Philippines – “Lifting the quantitative restriction (QR) on rice importation and imposing a zero tariff on imported fish will be the last nail in the coffin for Filipino food producers such as farmers and fisherfolk,” according to the activist fisherfolk group Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (PAMALAKAYA-Pilipinas) reacting to the plan of House Speaker Gloria Macapagal Arroyo and economic managers during their meeting last July 31.

Arroyo along with economic bloc in the Duterte government said the proposed policy on importation is to “address the inflation”. But for the fisherfolk group, the lifting of QR and zero tariff on rice and fish will bring economic disaster to local food producers.

We are already importing an average of 500, 000 metric tons of fish every year. To set the tariff on imported fish down to zero will completely kill the livelihood of Filipino fisherfolk because domestic market will primarily depend on marine and aquatic products coming from the foreign market. Everything on our table from rice to entrée will be imported,” Fernando Hicap, PAMALAKAYA Chairperson said in a statement.

The fisherfolk group claims shortage can never be the reason on why the country should rely on import because in the first place, according to them, the country exports tons after tons of fish products every year. They said from 1994 up to the present, the Philippines’ marine export rose to 120%, or a total of 333, 465 metric tons in 2013 alone. PAMALAKAYA said the exportation influx is despite the 15% loss of fish consumption in the country yearly.

The unlimited importation of rice and fish will render the domestic market and local prices unstable. But moreover, it will leave small farmers and fishers at the losing end because while the government focuses on imports, local production remain backward as ever due to agriculture and economic policies dictated by foreign markets,”

“Flooding our local market with imported agricultural products will never bring food sustainability but to develop our agriculture through livelihood subsidy and our country to separate from unfair global economic and trade deals that promote liberalization such as World Trade Organization,” ended Hicap. ###

Deaths, serious injuries caused by illegal demolition blamed on the land grabber

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Deaths, serious injuries caused by illegal demolition blamed on the land grabberDi5w7N8VsAAZgZm.jpg

San Juan, Batangas – “No one is to blame on the death of two security guards and serious injuries of three fishermen but the land developer Federico Campos III who wantonly ordered his security to demolish our shanties even without the court order. Campos’ security guards have committed illegal trespassing and destruction of property and we have no other option but to actively defend our houses from the demolition,” said Elsie Lucero, a resident of Sitio Balacbacan, Brgy. Laiya, San Juan, Batangas and a member of the provincial fisherfolk group Haligi ng Batanguenong Anakdagat (HABAGAT).

Last Monday, 8 buses of demolition team and security guards have forced their way into the community of the fisherfolk encamped along the national hi-way of Laiya as ordered by Campos to fence the property he claims. Campos is the owner of the Laiya Development Corp. and Macaria Development Corp. who is claiming that he owns the entire Sitio Balacbacan.

The violent demolition led to the death of two security guards from the JPS Security Agency and three serious injuries of three fisherfolk residents including Hermie Garcia, 60 years old, Peter Tranzares, 50, and Kenneth Cerezo, 23.

In 2014, more than 600 fishing families were violently demolished from the coastal community which is now converted into Campos’ private eco-tourism zone. After the demolition, the displaced families re-organized themselves and decided to stay in the area by building makeshift houses along the national road as most of them have no other place to go, as well as to assert their right to livelihood and their return to the community where they were displaced.

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