DOJ asked to issue legal opinion vs no-build zone policy
Justice Secretary Leila De Lima. INQUIRER.net file photo
MANILA, Philippines—A fisherfolk group on Friday asked Justice Secretary Leila De Lima to come up with a legal opinion against the enforcement of no-build zone policy in fishing communities in Typhoon Yolanda (International name Haiyan) ravaged areas and the rest of Eastern Visayas.
At the same time, the Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (Pamalakaya), in a four page letter, also urged De Lima to pursue charges against President Benigno Aquino III, and fellow Cabinet officials who are on top of the rehabilitation efforts.
These include Presidential Assistant for Rehabilitation and Recovery Secretary Panfilo Lacson, Environment Secretary Ramon Paje, Social Welfare Secretary Dinky Soliman and Local Government Secretary Manuel Roxas II.
While a sitting President is immune from suit, Pamalakaya said Aquino and some of his alter-egos must be held liable for implementing a policy that is not supported by any legal instrument or written memorandum like an Executive Order (EO) or Administrative Order (AO).
The no-build zone policy prohibits fishermen and other residents in the Visayas areas from returning to their fishing villages. The government also prohibited construction of houses and settlements near the coastlines and 40 meters away from the shoreline.
The policy will also cover areas of Manila Bay from Cavite to Bataan in Central Luzon and all towns surrounding Laguna Lake.
“It will entail the possible displacement of more than 6 million people in Manila Bay and 3.9 million around the 90,000 hectare Laguna de Bay,” the group said.
Pamalakaya vice chairperson Salvador France Gonzales said the DOJ should issue a directive to the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) and the local government units to dismantle the eight no-build zone markers from the coastline of San Joaquin in Palo, Leyte, up to San Juanico Bridge in worst-hit Tacloban City.