Not only in Boracay, luxury beach resorts in Batangas pollute fishing grounds – PAMALAKAYA

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Not only in Boracay, luxury beach resorts in Batangas pollute fishing grounds – DSC_0619.JPGPAMALAKAYA

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.

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Fisherfolk staged “fishing strike” against Navotas reclamation

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Fisherfolk staged “fishing strike” against Navotas reclamationDSC_1111.JPG

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,”

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Navotas fishers trooped City Mayor Tiangco to protest eco-tourism and fishing ordinance

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Navotas fishers trooped City Mayor Tiangco to protest eco-tourism and fishing

Navotas fishers stage picket in front of the City Hall


Navotas, City – Around 50 fisherfolk under the group Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (PAMALAKAYA-Pilipinas) staged a picket in front of the Navotas City Hall to demand the incumbent Mayor John Rey Tiangco to issue a moratorium on the excessive fishing taxations and strict fishing rules under the amended Fisheries Code of 1998 or Republic Act 10654.

The protesting fisherfolk from barangay Tangos lamented the absurd fishing regulations that curtail their fishing activities.

The fisherfolk group opposes the registration scheme added in the provisions of the Fisheries Code, where municipal fishermen are required to register their boats up to their simplest fishing gear with corresponding charges and fees. If caught by bantay dagat or sea patrols offshore unregistered, they will be charged with heavy fines and subjected to stiff penalties, including confiscation of fishing gears and fish catch.

The registration fee is a burden to small fishermen like us because we barely earn enough for our daily needs due to depleting fish catch and rising cost of fishing production,” Romy Broqueza, PAMALAKAYA-Navotas Spokesperson said.

Aside from the fisheries code, the fisherfolk also protested the ongoing reclamation project in their community, known as the Navotas Boulevard Business Park (NBBP), a 650-hectare reclamation project intended for commercial and eco-tourism use. The project was approved on 2015 by the Philippine Reclamation Authority (PRA) as requested by Mayor Tiangco.

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Fisherfolk opposes confirmation of Roy Cimatu

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Fisherfolk opposes confirmation of Roy Cimatu

Retired armed forces chief, Roy Cimatu (L), head of the Philippines’ Iraqi crisis management team, confers with National Security Adviser Roilo Golez during a briefing at the National Security Council in suburban Quezon, north of Manila, 11 March 2003. Cimatu has instructed the Philippine embassy staff in Baghdad to relocated to Amman in Jordan amid signs of an imminent US-led war on Iraq. AFP PHOTO/JAY DIRECTO / AFP PHOTO / JAY DIRECTO

Manila, Philippines – The militant fisherfolk group Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (PAMALAKAYA-Pilipinas) opposes the confirmation of Roy Cimatu as Secretary to the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR).

Cimatu’s confirmation hearing was deferred on September 20 after the Commission on Appointments (CA) decided to review the issues raised by the oppositors against the environment secretary.

For its part, the fisherfolk group rejects the confirmation of the environment chief for allowing reclamation activities to continue; an opposite of his predecessor Gina Lopez who refrained from issuing environmental compliance certificates (ECC) to any reclamation projects due to environmental catastrophe it would pose to marine environment and livelihood of the fisherfolk.

Cimatu has completely aborted the positive reforms of Gina Lopez in the environment department. He brings the DENR back to its traditional orientation as the number one facilitator of destructive projects at the expense of the environment and the livelihood of the people,” Fernando Hicap, PAMALAKAYA Chairperson said in a statement.

Presently, there are more than 100 reclamation projects approved by the Philippine Reclamation Authority (PRA), an attached agency of the DENR, covering almost 40,000 hectares of coastal areas throughout the country. All reclamation projects need to acquire ECC from the DENR to proceed.

We strongly oppose the confirmation of Roy Cimatu as top environment chief. He is morally and politically not suitable to head the environment department due to his corruption-tainted track record and a notorious defender of environmental plunderers while he was still a military officer of the Philippine Army,”

“We want no less than the likes of Gina Lopez to lead the environment department in order to continue pro-environment reforms that are also beneficial to the Filipino people,” Hicap said.

The continuation of confirmation hearing of Secretary Cimatu is scheduled today. ###

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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