reclamation

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group also criticized the government’s “ningas kugon” approach on the order especially after the Secretary of DENR has been replaced by former military Chief Roy Cimatu where demolition of fish pens has been set aside.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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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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Save Manila Bay and its fisherfolk – BFAR told

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Save Manila Bay and its fisherfolk – BFAR toldDSC_0417.JPG

Manila, Philippines – Challenging the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) to fulfill its mandate in protecting the marine environment and welfare of fisherfolk, the national fisherfolk alliance Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (PAMALAKAYA-Pilipinas) asks its Director Eduardo Gongona to express opposition against destructive and widespread reclamation activities in Manila Bay, which according to the group is one of the primary factors on why the gulf gradually deteriorates.

The approach by the group came after Manila Mayor Joseph Estrada approved another reclamation project in Manila Bay, the Horizon project touted as Manila’s biggest land reclamation project covering 417 hectares of water. The project was proposed by the real estate J-Bros Construction firm and costs P100 billion.

Manila Mayor Estrada is on a killing spree in approving development projects that would actually destroy Manila Bay and we have no last resort but to tap BFAR whose mandate is to preserve our marine environment and the Filipino fisherfolk. BFAR must denounce and reject the reclamation galore of the Manila Mayor for it will worsen the condition of the already dying Manila Bay,” Fernando Hicap, PAMALAKAYA Chairperson said in a statement.

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World Environment Day Action | Fishers protested Navotas reclamation project; call for Manila Bay rehabilitation

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World Environment Day Action | Fishers protested Navotas reclamation project; DSC_0465.JPGcall for Manila Bay rehabilitation

Manila, Philippines – Fisherfolk from Navotas under the group Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (PAMALAKAYA-Pilipinas) marked the World Environment Day with protest action along their coastal community in Brgy. Tangos, Navotas, City to oppose the ongoing Navotas Boulevard Business Park (NBBP), a project that if completed will entail the demolition of 20,000 fisherfolk and urban settlers and a serious threat to the marine environment.

NBBP is a 650-hectare reclamation project which extends from the Navotas Fishport in the south and to the north in which the area is bounded between Binuangan River and Tangos River. The project is under the National Reclamation Plan (NRP) of the Philippine Reclamation Authority (PRA) and is intended for mixed use.

We urge the local government of Navotas and President Rodrigo Duterte to put this destructive project on stop. This project violates the economic and civil rights of the fisherfolk who will be displaced from their fishing community,” Fernando Hicap, PAMALAKAYA Chairperson said in a statement.

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Fishers oppose new Manila Bay reclamation project

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Fishers oppose new Manila Bay reclamation project

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Manila Bay reclamation | Photo by Manila Bulletin

Manila, Philippines – The militant fisherfolk group Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (PAMALAKAYA-Pilipinas) opposes the newly-approved reclamation project in Manila Bay covering 407.42 hectares of water, dubbed as ‘a city within a city’.

Manila Mayor Joseph Estrada has recently approved a multibillion-peso reclamation project in Manila Bay that will house business and commercial hubs for tourists. The project’s Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) was already signed by the Philippine Reclamation Authority (PRA) and the UAA Kinming Group Development Corp. on Monday.

In a statement, PAMALAKAYA blames rampant reclamation activities in Manila Bay that caused storm surges and environmental degradation resulting to fish catch depletion adversely affecting the livelihood of the small-fisherfolk.

We hold the long-running reclamation activities in Manila Bay principally responsible for the degradation of the once productive fishing hub for the Filipino fishers. Manila Bay used to be productive fishing water before with an average daily fish catch of 10-15 kilos. But since the across-the-bay reclamation activities became a corporate-craze, the average fish catch of a fisherman drastically drops to 3-5 kilos all time low,” Fernando Hicap, PAMALAKAYA Chairperson said in a statement.

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‘Reclamation as usual’ in Rizal part of Laguna de Bay

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‘Reclamation as usual’ in Rizal part of Laguna de Bay

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Waste and land filling in Angono, Rizal

Angono, Rizal – Local chapter of the fisherfolk group Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (Pamalakaya) in Angono, Rizal laments that dumping of waste and landfill in the Angono part of Laguna de Bay are still ongoing even after dialogue with the Laguna Lake Development Authority (LLDA) and the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) on October 7.

Under the Angono local government’s ‘zero squatter program’, it consistently reclaims some of its coastal areas using landfill combinations of toxic industrial, domestic and bio-hazard wastes. The ‘Kalayaan Angono Dream Neighborhood Association’ or KANDRENAI in its Brgy. Kalayaan is a 5-hectare urban poor community composed of almost 300 families. It was once a portion of the 90-thousand hectare Laguna de Bay but during the 90s, the local government started dumping wastes and land onto the water and later on became a housing project.

Contrary to LLDA’s statement during our dialogue last week, dumping of wastes and land in Laguna de Bay continues. Reclamation of Laguna de Bay using various wastes pollutes the lake even more and destroys the fishing grounds and the environment,” Avelina Anie, member of Pamalakaya in Angono, Rizal.

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