January 18, 2019
Manila Bay fishers protested Manila Bay reclamation disguised as ‘rehabilitation’
Manila, Philippines – Manila Bay fishers under the group Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (PAMALAKAYA-Pilipinas) on Friday trooped the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) head office to protest the pseudo-rehabilitation of Manila Bay that includes demolition of at least 300, 000 fisherfolk and settlers.
PAMALAKAYA, along with the residents of Manila Bay and environmental activist group Kalikasan People’s Network for the Environment urged environment secretary Roy Cimatu to craft a genuine rehabilitation program that will restore Manila Bay back to its traditional use as fishing grounds, and not to further transform it into a vast commercial and tourism hub at the expense of its marine ecosystem and hundreds of thousands of population residing around it.
“Manila Bay is deteriorating, don’t get us wrong. We are the ones who suffer from the effects of its environmental degradation on a regular fishing basis. But wiping us out from Manila Bay to give way for its further privatization will do more harm to its ecosystem than good. Ever since that reclamation and conversion have become the government and corporate craze, massive mangrove forests have been uprooted and productive coral reefs were destroyed. Fish catch has dramatically declined to 2-5 kilos every fishing trip,” Fernando Hicap, PAMALAKAYA National Chairperson and a fisherman in Manila Bay lamented during the protest.
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.
Bacoor fishers slam Mayor Lani Revilla for preventing fire-victims to return home
Manila, Philippines – The municipal chapter of the fisherfolk group Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (PAMALAKAYA-Pilipinas) in Bacoor, Cavite denounces City Mayor Lani Mercado-Revilla for preventing the fire-affected residents and fishers from returning to their community that was ravaged by a blaze last week.
In June 20, barangays Maliksi I and Maliksi 3 in Bacoor, both fishing communities along the river side, were hit by a fire – 300 houses were heavily destroyed, displacing 500 households.
According to Alyansa ng mga Magdaragat sa Bacoor Cavite Inc. (ALYANSA), PAMALAKAYA’s municipal chapter, there is a standing order from the local government through Mayor Lani Mercado-Revilla to restrict residents from returning to their communities and continue their livelihood. Some of the victims are fisherfolk who rely on Manila Bay as a source of living.
Myrna Candinato, President of ALYANSA, said Mayor Mercado-Revilla offered only P20, 000 to each of the family but without relocation. Candinato pointed out that there is an approved reclamation project in the city to convert its coastal community from productive fishing waters to commercial and mixed-use district. PAMALAKAYA claims the reclamation project will effectively displace almost 7, 000 fishing families and urban poor settlers.
“First of all, we don’t buy the idea that the community was accidentally hit by a blaze. We all know that deliberately burning down communities has been the most inexpensive yet effective tactic of the government to demolish a community that is a target for conversion and development aggression,” Candinato said in a statement.
“Rehabilitate marine resources, not a lecture on territorial boundaries” –
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.