Not only in Boracay, luxury beach resorts in Batangas pollute fishing grounds – PAMALAKAYA
Manila, Philippines – The militant fisherfolk group Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (PAMALAKAYA-Pilipinas) on Wednesday wants the government to investigate and at the maximum shutdown private beach resorts in the province of Batangas that were once productive coastal communities of thousands of fishing families and coastal settlers.
PAMALAKAYA said at least 300 hectares of coastal communities in the town of Nasugbu, Batangas have been converted into Hamilo Coast by the SM Group owned by the business tycoon Henry Sy. The group claimed that the beach resorts are affecting the livelihood of more than 1,000 fisherfolk because their traditional fishing grounds have been declared as off limits and marine protected areas. There are three marine protected areas declared within the vicinity of the Hamilo Coast where small fishermen are not allowed to conduct fishing activities.
“Hindi lamang sa Boracay kundi maging dito sa probinsya ng Batangas at sa iba’t-ibang panig ng bansa nagaganap ang paglabag ng mga pribadong beach resort sa karapatan ng mga mangingisda. Sinisira ng mga ito ang natural na ekolohiya ng karagatan na kadalasang nagreresulta sa malawakang fish kill,” Lino Baes, PAMALAKAYA Batangas Spokesperson said in a statement.
The group has been opposing the conversion of fishing waters into private use because it does not only result to massive dislocation of fisherfolk but also poses great disaster and ecological disruption to marine biodiversity.
According to Baes, there are also reports in the town of San Juan, Batangas that private beach resorts have no proper waste disposal facilities causing pollution in the sea.
“Nakakalungkot na kami na ngang mga mangingisda ang inagawan ng tirahan, kami pa ang nagiging tampulan ng sisi sa pagdumi at pagkasira ng karagatan. Gayung malinaw na ang pandarambong ng mga dambuhalang negosyante ang nangungunang dahilan ng pagkawasak ng mga bakawanan na siyang tirahan ng mga isda at pook-pangisdaan na siyang pinagkukunan ng kabuhayan naming mga mangingisda,”
“Nananawagan kami sa pamahalaan na imbestigahan ang lahat ng mga pribadong beach resort sa Batangas at ipatigil na ang lahat ng anyo ng kumbersyon at reklamasyon ng karagatan na sumisira sa yamang dagat at kabuhayan ng mga mangingisdang Pilipino,” added Baes.
Fisherfolk staged “fishing strike” against Navotas reclamation
Manila, Philippines – “We call on to stop the 650-hectare reclamation project in the city of Navotas that will phase-out more than 20,000 fishermen and coastal settlers in the country’s fishing capital,”
This was the call of the Navotas fishermen under the banner of the group Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (PAMALAKAYA-Pilipinas) on Tuesday at their fluvial protest action in Manila Bay, dubbed as fishing strike against reclamation.
The fisherfolk rode in more than 25 fishing boats while roaming from Barangay Tangos to Navotas Centennial Park where the fences and markers are being installed in preparation to the reclamation project, known as the Navotas Boulevard Business Park (NBBP).
The NBBP is a 650-hectare reclamation project approved by city Mayor John Rey Tianco intended for commercial and mixed use. More than 20,000 Navotas fishermen are expected to be displaced if the project pushes through.
The fisherfolk group likened their fate under the reclamation project to hundreds of thousands of Jeepney drivers if government’s Jeepney phase-out program nationwide will proceed.
“Like our Jeepney drivers who will lose livelihood due to Jeepney phase-out, the Navotas reclamation would effectively phase-out thousands of fisherfolk and urban poor from their livelihood and community in the name of government’s pseudo-development project. Ever since, reclamation projects are far from the interest of the fisherfolk but a detrimental to their livelihood and moreover to the delicate marine environment,”
Fisherfolk staged State of the Fishers’ Address (SOFA) to assess President Duterte
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.
Duterte’s unstable promises
Fisherfolk’s one-year assessment to President Duterte
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.