Palace proposal on fish settlement to evict 9 million fishers

A militant fisherfolk group yesterday expressed apprehension that more than 9 million fishermen and coastal people or about 10 percent of the country’s population will be removed from their fishing villages once Malacañang signs an executive order (EO) declaring coast lines off limits to homes after storm surges and mini-tsunamis devastated coastal villages in Eastern Samar, Leyte and 34 more provinces affected by super typhoon “Yolanda.”

The Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (Pamalakaya) said the still unnumbered and still unsigned Draft EO billed “Adopting Fisherfolk Shelter for Stewards (Fish) as a National Strategy to Ensure Safe and Decent Settlement in Coastal Communities and Establishing Supporting Mechanisms for its Implementation,” will generate resistance and strong opposition from fisherfolk and residents living along the coastlines of the country’s 7,101 islands.
“The EO on fish settlement is an open declaration of war against the Filipino fishing community. It will remove nearly 10 percent of the country’s population away from their main source of livelihood and communities,” said Pamalakaya vice chairperson Salvador France.
France said the draft EO had something to do with the recent order of PresidentAquino to Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Secretary Ramon Paje to establish “no-build zones” on coastlines to ensure the transfer of residents to safe resettlement areas.
“The EO tells it all. It will kill practically everything related to fishing livelihood, residence and culture. This EO on fish settlement is a menace,” France said.
In justifying his order, the President said Filipinos should learn from painful lessons of Yolanda, as well as tropical storms “Sendong” and typhoon “Pablo.” President Aquino said the DENR many areas in the country had been marked “danger zones” based on the geo-hazard mapping of DENR’s Mines and Geosciences Bureau which should be kept cleared.
“The Philippines is an archipelago of 7,100 islands during high tide and 7,101 islands during low tide, and nearly 10 million people source their livelihood and live along coastal areas. The ridiculous plan of the government to move out ten million fisherfolk and coastal people from their fishing villages is an extraordinary display of first rate stupidity,” said France.
The Pamalakaya leader said it is mind-boggling and hair splitting to see Malacañang, the DENR and the Department of Interior and Local Government removing tens of thousands of coastal people from affected areas in Eastern Samar, Leyte, Northern Negros, Northern Iloilo, Aklan, Capiz, Antique, Guimaras, Northern Cebu, Masbate, Palawan, Mindoro Occidental and Mindoro Oriental from their fishing villages just to comply with the order of President.

SOURCE: Daily Tribune

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