Roy Cimatu

Fisherfolk slams CA-ruling on Laguna Lake fishpens

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Fisherfolk slams CA-ruling on Laguna Lake fishpensimg_20170213_103812

Manila, Philippines – The militant fisherfolk group Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (PAMALAKAYA-Pilipinas) on Sunday slams the Court of Appeals (CA) over its decision to abort the government’s campaign against vast-tracts of fishpens in the 90-thousand hectare Laguna de Bay, saying the decision is a complete turnaround on the order of President Rodrigo Duterte to open the biggest lake to small-fisherfolk.

Based on the report of the Laguna Lake Development Authority (LLDA), at least 1,600 hectares of privately-owned fishpens have been demolished since the government launched an unprecedented campaign against wide fishpens in Laguna de Bay last year to pave way for the restoration of the polluted lake and bring back the traditional common use of its fishing waters to small-fisherfolk.

We are enraged by the treacherous ruling of the Court of Appeals, the Laguna Lake fisherfolk have been looking forward for the complete clearing of fishpens in the lake. For years, the Laguna de Bay have been occupied by wide fishpens owned by fishing corporations and private individuals including ex-military generals and local politicians. The CA-ruling shows that vested interest of few giant fishing firms and individuals prevail over the collective clamor of fisherfolk for their right to fishing grounds,” Fernando Hicap, PAMALAKAYA Chairperson said in a statement, also blaming the proliferation of fishpens for the pollution of the lake because it uses chemical based feeds to culture fish.

The group also lashed out at the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) and its attached agency, the LLDA for failing to uphold the campaign that was started by former DENR Secretary Gina Lopez.

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“Mining magnates run DENR, MICC” – fisherfolk group

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Mining magnates run DENR, MICC” – fisherfolk group

PHILIPPINES-IRAQ-DEFENCE
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 –We strongly condemn Environment Secretary Roy Cimatu for auctioning our environment to big-time mining corporations by lifting the ban on open-pit mining,”

This was the statement of the militant fisherfolk group Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (PAMALAKAYA-Pilipinas) calling out Environment Secretary Roy Cimatu for reversing the policy of former Secretary Gina Lopez to ban open-pit mining operations during her term.

Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Secretary Roy Cimatu on Tuesday lifted the ban after meeting with the interagency Mining Industry Coordinating Council (MICC), which Cimatu and Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez co-chair the government body.

We are enraged by how Secretary Cimatu and the members of the MICC have fast tracked the reversal of policy on open-pit mining. We are against open-pit mining because it effectively devastates the delicate environment, contaminates watersheds and other coastal areas, and moreover, it destroys the livelihood of farmers and fisherfolk in the countryside,” Fernando Hicap, PAMALAKAYA Chairperson said in a statement.

The group said by institutionalizing the open-pit mining, Cimatu has not only scrapped the pro-environment policies of his predecessor Gina Lopez, but he also blatantly neglects the cry for social justice of rural people who have been affected and displaced by the destructive mining activity.

The fisherfolk group also blames President Rodrigo Duterte for keeping mum on the DENR’s approved policy.

It’s all on President Duterte and his Cabinet members who have direct and indirect mining interests like Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez who has been staunch against Lopez’ ban order. It seems President Duterte’s anti-open-pit mining position before has now been swayed by his economic cluster,” said Hicap.

According to environmental activist Kalikasan People’s Network for the Environment, the Dominguez clan has stakes in mining companies, such as Alsons, Sagitarrius Mines, Lafayette Philippines, United Paragon Mining, and Philex Mining.

It is now crystal clear that the environment department is back at the hands of giant mining oligarchs and private developers,”

“We hold President Duterte, Roy Cimatu, and every members of the MICC accountable for this flagrant betrayal and disrespect on the socio-economic rights and welfare of the people by allowing big-time mining firms to plunder our resources,” ended Hicap. ###

“Total ban, not higher excise tax on giant mining” – fisherfolk to Cimatu

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Total ban, not higher excise tax on giant mining” – fisherfolk to Cimatu

PHILIPPINES-IRAQ-DEFENCE
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 newly confirmed Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Secretary Roy Cimatu has earned the ire of the militant fisherfolk group Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (PAMALAKAYA-Pilipinas) for favoring on higher excise taxes on mining instead of total closure to the industry, saying the higher tax directive would not totally halt the destructive operations of giant mining companies, but will more legitimize the plunderous activity.

For Cimatu, it has always been money over the environment. Instead of issuing a total ban policy on all large-scale destructive mines, Cimatu resorts to lighten the verdict by imposing a higher excise tax which big-time mining firms would hardly endure,”

“No amount of billions of revenues could rehabilitate the devastated mountains and contaminated seas caused by destructive mining. Moreover, no amount of “fair government revenue” could provide social justice to farmers, fishers, and other rural people who will be displaced from their livelihood in exchange for mining operations,”  Fernando Hicap, PAMALAKAYA Chairperson said in a statement.

The group said the higher excise taxes on mining could barely paralyze the industry because of its billions worth of mineral resources plundered through our land.

Instead, the group demands to pursue closing of destructive mines that devastate our delicate environment and pose heavy burden to the socio-economic rights of the people, and push a responsible mining that would foster our local industries and beneficial to the Filipino people. ###

Fisherfolk opposes confirmation of Roy Cimatu

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Fisherfolk opposes confirmation of Roy Cimatu

PHILIPPINES-IRAQ-DEFENCE
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 asks probe into marine sanctuaries in Surigao del Norte

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Fisherfolk asks probe into marine sanctuaries in Surigao del Norte

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Leopoldo Pelinta, a fisherfolk leader from Surigao del Norte speaks at the picket action at the BFAR

Manila, Philippines – Fisherfolk under the group Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (PAMALAKAYA-Pilipinas) on Thursday urged the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Secretary Roy Cimatu to investigate the existing marine sanctuaries illegally operating in the province of Surigao del Norte that covers more than 600 hectares of its fishing waters.

Marine sanctuary in the municipality of General Luna covers 580 hectares in spite that the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) only approved 200 hectares of sanctuary in the town. While in the municipality of San Isidro, there is an existing 33 hectares of marine sanctuary and another 30 hectares for expansion will be opened soon.

Marine Sanctuaries are designated areas declared by the BFAR where all types of fishing activities are prohibited in order to preserve marine species and give fish time to spawn. However, according to PAMALAKAYA, marine sanctuaries often lead to privatization and conversion of fishing waters into eco-tourism zones

The declared marine sanctuaries in Surigao del Norte now showcase leisure activities like boat riding, surfing, scuba diving, and sport fishing for local and foreign tourists.

While we are being denied access from our traditional fishing zone, the local government unit opens the area to rest and recreation hub for tourists. This is the reason why we don’t buy the idea that marine sanctuaries are for the interest of small fisherfolk, because we know that the real score behind this sanctuaries is to transform the traditional use of fishing waters into money-making business both of the local government and investors,” Leopoldo Pelinta, PAMALAKAYA-Surigao del Norte Spokesperson said in a statement.

The group also contests the claim of BFAR that marine sanctuaries is for marine life protection, saying the bureau’s designated sea patrols or bantay dagat prohibit only small fishermen while inutile to destructive large-scale commercial fishing vessels. Ring net and Superlight fishing are prevalent in the municipal waters even within the declared marine sanctuaries, they are destructive especially the Superlight because it paralyzes and blinds the fish once its lamp submerge into the water. They are owned by influential politicians and individuals in the province.

Local fishermen in the province also notice the change of pattern of fish species in the region, like depletion of fish capture and loss of several fish species they used to catch before.

How can you protect the marine environment if you convert its traditional use as a fishing ground? Eco-tourism results to ecosystem imbalance because you disturb the habitat of fish and other marine life,”

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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 laments suspension of ECC-restriction

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Fisherfolk laments suspension of ECC-restriction

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DENR Secretary Roy Cimatu | AFP PHOTO/JAY DIRECTO / AFP PHOTO / JAY DIRECTO

Manila, Philippines – The militant fisherfolk group Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (PAMALAKAYA-Pilipinas) on Friday chided at the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Secretary Roy Cimatu for scrapping the order of his predecessor Gina Lopez to restrict the issuance of environmental compliance certificates (ECC) for both environmentally critical projects (ECPs) and non-ECPs.

Under the DENR Administrative Order (DAO) No. 2017-18, Secretary Cimatu suspends Lopez’ DAO No. 2017-04 to fast track issuance of environmental certificates to the regional level. Under Lopez’ DAO, only the DENR Secretary has the sole authority to issue ECCs for both ECPs and non-ECPs within environmentally critical areas (ECAs). This was Lopez’ efforts to alleviate corruption and anomalous issuances of environmental permits to destructive projects like large-scale mining. But Cimatu gives back the authority to issue such permits back to the regional directors of the Environmental Management Bureau (EMB).

For its part, the fisherfolk group was dismayed by the present DENR Secretary’s order, saying this would be business as usual for the mining and developing magnates who are in league with unscrupulous and corrupt DENR regional directors that can easily acquire ECC for their destructive projects.

We are not incognizant to the fact that big-time developers and mining companies manage to acquire environmental certificates despite their destructive type of business because of their secret connivance with corrupt DENR regional directors,” Fernando Hicap, PAMALAKAYA Chairperson said in a statement.

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