Fisherfolk calls Cimatu’s order on protected areas “anti-environment”
Manila, Philippines – Environment Secretary Roy Cimatu has earned the ire of the activist fisherfolk group Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (PAMALAKAYA-Pilipinas) over the resumption of the special use agreement for protected areas (SAPA), saying this opens the floodgates for environmental destruction to the country’s pristine protected areas.
SAPA allows protected areas such as strict nature reserve, natural park, natural monument, wildlife sanctuary, protected landscapes and seascapes to be used for agroforestry, ecotourism, communication and power facilities, irrigation canals, aquaculture, and for weather and other scientific monitoring facilities.
The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) in 2011 suspended the issuance of SAPA.
In a statement, PAMALAKAYA National Chairperson Fernando Hicap said the lifting of the suspension of SAPA lays open our preserved areas such as forest and marine zones to corporate activities that pose environmental disaster.
“With the resumption of issuance of SAPA, protected areas will be more vulnerable to various forms of corporate plunder embedded with environmental destruction. It will further the conversion of preserved marine areas into mere ecotourism zones and private aquaculture farms,”
Fisherfolk trooped DENR to protest gov’t’s “grand sellout” of Ph waters
Manila, Philippines – The progressive fisherfolk group Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (PAMALAKAYA-Pilipinas) on Wednesday trooped the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) to protest the national “clean-up” campaign of the country’s top tourist spots such as the Boracay Island, Panglao Island in Bohol, Puerto Galera in Oriental Mindoro, and Coron, Palawan.
The group said the clean-up drive is actually to facilitate, attract, and open doors to foreign investors, especially those coming from China who are seeking multi-billion dollar investment ventures in the country. In Boracay, a local developer Leisure & Resorts World Corporation (LRWC) has already bought 23-hectare property in the island for the $300-M to $500-M integrated casino resort in partnership with the Macau-based Galaxy Entertainment Group.
While in Coron Island, Palawan, a group of Chinese magnates is eyeing to invest aquaculture farms for high-value species of groupers (Lapu-lapu). DENR has declared that Coron’s waters are already contaminated with bacteria coming from both domestic and infrastructure wastes. They admit that the clean-up drive includes displacement of informal settlers and removal of illegal structures situated within the 3-meter easement zone of the bay.
A likewise trend, the local government of Panglao Island in Bohol which is the government’s next target for clearing up has also welcomed Chinese investments in agriculture, tourism, and technology.
DENR facilitating foreign-sellout of Ph seas – fisherfolk
Manila, Philippines – The progressive fisherfolk alliance Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (PAMALAKAYA-Pilipinas) said the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) is facilitating the sell-out of our fishing waters to foreign investors through the government’s nationwide “clean-up” campaign and the “no build zone” policy.
The provincial chapter of PAMALAKAYA in Palawan has reported that the municipality of Coron has already been surveyed by DENR officials in preparation to the relocation of fishing families residing within the 40-meter areas categorized as “danger zones”.
According to Elias Ruta, PAMALAKAYA-Palawan Spokesperson, around 400 families in Coron will be displaced in pursuant to the “no build zone” policy which was first implemented in the aftermath of the super-typhoon Yolanda in 2013.
“Balak palayasin ang mga mangingisda sa tabing-dagat habang mananatili ang mga pribadong istruktura at dadagdagan pa nga ng mas malalaking mga negosyo sa baybaying-dagat. Hindi rin kami naniniwala na ang pagiging “danger zone” ng aming lugar ang dahilan kung bakit kami palalayasin dahil sa dinami-dami ng mga dumaang kalamidad, nananatili pa ring nakatindig ang aming mga bahay nang wala ni anumang tulong ng gubyerno,” Ruta who is a local fisherman in Coron said in a statement.
“Speak up on Benham Rise issue!” – DENR, BFAR told
Manila, Philippines – “In the midst of the raging controversy regarding the Philippine Rise, the deafening silence of two government lead agencies, namely, the BFAR and the DENR is utterly disappointing,” according to the militant fisherfolk group Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (PAMALAKAYA-Pilipinas), urging the two agencies to speak up and make a stand against the government’s sell-out of our marine territory.
The group said Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) and Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) are supposed to be at the forefront of conducting research in the fishing resources and management of the marine biodiversity of the rise.
Philippine Rise is a 13-million-hectare resource rich underwater plateau located opposite to the disputed South China Sea, it has been declared by the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) in April 2012 as part of the Philippines’ exclusive economic zone (EEZ). Through the Executive Order No. 25 signed by President Rodrigo Duterte in May last year, the undersea feature has been renamed from Benham Rise to Philippine Rise.
Aside from China, the Duterte administration has approved research applications from several countries such as Japan, United States, and South Korea; which was opposed by the fishers group, saying it is a gross violation of our patrimony and tantamount to surrender of sovereign rights.
The fisherfolk group noted that BFAR and DENR have already conducted exploratory trips and research on the plateau before.
“Mining magnates run DENR, MICC” – fisherfolk group
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
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. ###