Groups stage fluvial protest vs gov’t reclamation plan

Groups stage fluvial protest vs gov’t reclamation plan

MANILA, Philippines – Various groups opposing the  government reclamation project on Monday staged a 10-boat fluvial parade from Bacoor, Cavite to the Senate ground in Pasay reclamation area to demand the urgent and unconditional scrapping of the National Reclamation Plan.

The plan is being  implemented by the Philippine Reclamation Authority.

Some 50 protesters, including members of Pamalakaya and Alyansa, on board small fishing boats sailed through Manila Bay.

The fluvial protest also called for the junking of No-Build Zone Policy, which they said, will be used to carry out the demolition of fishing villages and urban poor communities across Manila Bay to give way to large-scale reclamation.

Fluvial organizers also expressed their support to Senate Resolution No. 294 authored by Senator Cynthia Villar, which put to task the Senate Committee on Government Corporations to review the mandate, powers and responsibilities of PRA.

Pamalakaya vice chairperson Salvador France said on Feb. 25, 2011, the Board of Directors of PRA approved Resolution No. 4161 effecting the implementation of NRP.

The program on reclamation will involve 102 reclamation projects and would cover 38, 272 hectares of coastal areas.

“The Senate should abolish the PRA and scrap the National Reclamation Plan if this august chamber wants to contribute in restoring Manila Bay back to its sound state. The famous bay is dying because of large-scale land reclamation that promotes destruction of environment and communities, and massive displacement of livelihood,” France said.

France noted that 38 reclamation projects are found in Manila Bay and would cover 26,234 hectares of more than two-thirds of the entire NRP plan.

In Manila Bay, Pamalakaya said, around 5,000 hectares will be reclaimed in Cavite City for the development of Sangley Point, while 810 hectares were earmarked for reclamation of Las Pinas-Paranaque bird sanctuary.

Pamalakaya also noted that some 148 hectares will be reclaimed near the Manila Yacht Club in Manila, 5,000 hectares along the coastline of Navotas, and 13,000 hectares more for reclamation activities in Bulacan, Pampanga and Bataan.

The rest of reclamation projects will be undertaken in Tacloban City in Eastern Visayas, Bacolod City in Negros Occidental, Leganes in Iloilo City, South Reclamation Project in Cebu, Panglao Reclamation in Bohol, Kalibo reclamation in Aklan, Moro Gulf and portions of Laguna Lake in Muntinlupa.

Pamalakaya said due to large-scale reclamation in Manila Bay, fisherfolk experienced drastic cuts in their daily fish catch.

The group said before large-scale reclamation, the average of daily fish catch was between 5-10 kilos of fish, but it went down to 2-3 kilos due to the destructive impact of previous large-scale land reclamation.

The group said mussel growers in Manila Bay also experienced huge cuts in their production and income due to reclamation projects.

Pamalakaya said before, mussel raisers used to harvest 200 gallons of mussel per harvest, now the average harvest of mussel (tahong) was significantly reduced by 70 percent to 75 percent.

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