President Rodrigo Duterte

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. ###

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. ###

Immediate rehabilitation for displaced workers in Boracay urged

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Manila, Philippines – In time of the Labor Day, the militant fisherfolk group Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (PAMALAKAYA-Pilipinas) urged the Duterte government to expedite the assistance for more than 30,000 workers displaced by the 6-month closure of Boracay that started in April 26.

Boracay Island, which Duterte tagged as a “cesspool”, has 430 registered hotels and accommodations employing an estimated 19,000 registered employees; while around 17, 000 workers are from the informal sector including masseurs, tattoo artists, and vendors by the beach.

While Duterte is promulgating the rehabilitation of Boracay, there is also an urgent need to rehabilitate thousands of displaced workers who stand affected by the government’s unprecedented total closure. Workers need government assistance in a form of economic subsidy and relief because a 6-month closure is equivalent to 6 months of hunger and joblessness,” Fernando Hicap, PAMALAKAYA Chairperson said in a statement.

Although the fisherfolk group is calling for economic support for the affected workers, Hicap clarified they are still opposed to the total closure and the planned casino in the island. He said his group together with other concerned sectors will continue to investigate the underlying motive behind the total closure and will publicly expose President Duterte’s sinister agenda to transform the leisure island into foreign gambling island at the expense of the country’s patrimonial rights.

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Fisherfolk, environmentalists trooped DENR to protest Boracay closure, construction of casino

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Fisherfolk, environmentalists trooped DENR to protest Boracay closure, 31225507_2126859494267252_5202527622612910080_nconstruction of casino

Manila, Philippines – Two days before the 6-month closure of Boracay, the militant fisherfolk group Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (PAMALAKAYA-Pilipinas) and environmental activist KALIKASAN People’s Network for the Environment (PNE) staged a joint picket at the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) to oppose the total closure and the impending construction of a 23-hectare casino in the country’s top tourist island.

President Rodrigo Duterte slammed Boracay as a “cesspool” and ordered its temporary closure to pave way for rehabilitation. But the order of rehabilitation comes into conflict with the reports that the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp. (PAGCOR) had approved the construction of a $500-million integrated casino-resort proposed by Macau-based casino giant Galaxy Entertainment Group Ltd. together with its local partner Leisure and Resorts World Corp. (LRWC).

“It is clear that the rehabilitation effort of Duterte is only a vehicle for clearing small businesses and opening Boracay to big-time developers that will intensify the exploitation of the island. We will oppose this grand sellout and corporate takeover of our natural resources at all cost,” Fernando Hicap, PAMALAKAYA Chairperson said in a statement.

Aside from the Macau-type casino-resort, a certain DoubleDragon Properties Corp. has expressed its interest to build the country’s largest hotel by room count dubbed as the Hotel101 Resorts in Boracay.

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PAMALAKAYA slams militarization in Boracay

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Manila, Philippines – In a protest staged by the fisherfolk group Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (PAMALAKAYA-Pilipinas) at the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) today, the rural-based group slashed the militarization in Boracay during its 6-month closure that will start on April 26.

The Philippine National Police (PNP) tapped the 630-member Joint Task Force Boracay from the regional police supported by the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), Philippine Coast Guard (PCG), Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP), and civic groups. Also, the PCG sent a multi-role response vessel (MRRV) to conduct maritime security patrols around the island.

President Duterte never disclosed to the public that his supposedly rehabilitation plan includes deployment of police forces in a full battle gear. We can’t see the point of militarizing the tourist island but to sow intimidation and curtail civil rights of the residents who stand affected by the 6-month closure,” Fernando Hicap, PAMALAKAYA Chairperson said during the protest.

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“Rehabilitate marine resources, not a lecture on territorial boundaries” – PAMALAKAYA tells Go

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Rehabilitate marine resources, not a lecture on territorial boundaries” –

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Special Assistant to the President Bong Go | Photo by ABS-CBN News

PAMALAKAYA tells Go

Manila, Philippines ­­– The fisherfolk group Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (PAMALAKAYA-Pilipinas) tells the Special Assistant to the President Christopher “Bong” Go to explore the ocean deep and study the plight of the fisherfolk and the deteriorating condition of municipal waters that force them to go beyond the territorial waters.

Speaking before 31 fisherfolk repatriated from Indonesia after being detained for illegal entry and fishing in their territory, Go said Filipino fishers should be taught with territorial boundaries to avoid arrest.

For its part, PAMALAKAYA said the depleting fish catch in the municipal fishing waters due to intrusion of commercial fishing fleets that exploit marine stocks leaves the Filipino fishers no choice but to venture outside the territorial waters with the risk of getting caught for illegal entry or worst, get into unexpected accidents caused by rough and unfamiliar seas.

Allow us to explain to Go how the fishing works. The irony is that despite being an archipelagic country, Filipino fishers have to undertake the risks of going to foreign waters because municipal waters are running out of fish stocks courtesy of large-scale commercial fishing fleets that exploit its marine resources. Another main factor of marine degradation is the government’s destructive reclamation projects that kill mangroves, corals, and other fish spawning areas,” Fernando Hicap, PAMALAKAYA Chairperson said in a statement.

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Fisherfolk doubts Duterte’s “innocence” on the Boracay casino plan

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Fisherfolk doubts Duterte’s “innocence” on the Boracay casino planDSC_1708

Manila, Philippines – The activist fisherfolk group Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (PAMALAKAYA-Pilipinas) is skeptic with President Rodrigo Duterte’s pronouncement that he was not aware of the planned casino-resort in Boracay, which the President called a “cesspool”, thus ordered a 6-month shutdown starting on April 26.

In a statement, the fisherfolk group recalled that in December 2017, the team from Galaxy Entertainment Group Ltd. (GEG) headed by its Chairman Lui Che-Woo and Vice Chairman Francis Lui-Yiu paid a courtesy call to President Duterte where they discussed the proposal to build a $500-M integrated casino-resort in Boracay.

The Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp. (PAGCOR) has already provided a provisional permit to the Macau-based casino giant together with its local partner, Leisure and Resorts World Corp. (LRWC) owned by incumbent Negros Occidental Representative and Duterte-ally Alfredo Benitez, to build the 23-hectare casino-resort that will start on 2019.

Mocking Duterte, PAMALAKAYA National Chairperson and former Anakpawis Party-list solon Fernando Hicap said: “President Duterte is making a fool out of the Filipino people by denying his knowledge on the planned Chinese casino in Boracay. It is already clear to the public that Duterte’s directive to rehabilitate the island is only a “lutong macau” because there are already giant conglomerates that will replace local infrastructures and businesses in the island,”

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Fisherfolk says no to Bulacan international airport

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Fisherfolk says no to Bulacan international airport

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Proposed airport in Bulacan | Photo by San Miguel Corp.

Manila, Philippines – The national fisherfolk alliance Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (PAMALAKAYA-Pilipinas) opposes the international airport project in Bulacan that has been approved by the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA).

With NEDA’s approval, Ramong Ang’s San Miguel Corporation (SMC) is set to build, operate, and maintain the P700-billion international “aerotropolis” which involves an airport covering 1,168 hectares and a city complex to be built at a 2,500-hectare area along Manila Bay in Bulacan, Bulacan.

For its part, PAMALAKAYA Chairperson and former Anakpawis Partylist solon Fernando Hicap said the project will lead to environmental disaster in Manila Bay threatening the livelihood of more than 20,000 fisherfolk in the municipality of Bulacan, Bulacan and other neighboring towns.

This project will not only destroy marine ecosystem, but also the livelihood of thousands of fisherfolk who subsist by fishing in the rich fishing hub of Manila Bay,” Hicap said, also lambasting President Rodrigo Duterte for selling out fishing waters and coastal communities to foreign investors and giant developers trough his Build, Build, Build (BBB) program.

President Duterte is on a roll in selling our coastal waters to big-time business magnates; not less than 5 destructive reclamation projects have been approved in Manila Bay since he assumed post as chief executive, all at the expense of socio-economic rights of hundreds of thousands of fisherfolk and coastal settlers,” added Hicap.

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Fisherfolk trooped DENR to protest gov’t’s “grand sellout” of Ph waters

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Fisherfolk trooped DENR to protest gov’t’s “grand sellout” of Ph waters

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PAMALAKAYA protested the grand sellout of Boracay and other coastal areas in the country

Manila, Philippines – The progressive fisherfolk group Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (PAMALAKAYA-Pilipinas) on Wednesday trooped the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) to protest the national “clean-up” campaign of the country’s top tourist spots such as the Boracay Island, Panglao Island in Bohol, Puerto Galera in Oriental Mindoro, and Coron, Palawan.

The group said the clean-up drive is actually to facilitate, attract, and open doors to foreign investors, especially those coming from China who are seeking multi-billion dollar investment ventures in the country. In Boracay, a local developer Leisure & Resorts World Corporation (LRWC) has already bought 23-hectare property in the island for the $300-M to $500-M integrated casino resort in partnership with the Macau-based Galaxy Entertainment Group.

While in Coron Island, Palawan, a group of Chinese magnates is eyeing to invest aquaculture farms for high-value species of groupers (Lapu-lapu). DENR has declared that Coron’s waters are already contaminated with bacteria coming from both domestic and infrastructure wastes. They admit that the clean-up drive includes displacement of informal settlers and removal of illegal structures situated within the 3-meter easement zone of the bay.

A likewise trend, the local government of Panglao Island in Bohol which is the government’s next target for clearing up has also welcomed Chinese investments in agriculture, tourism, and technology.

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