Abolish Philippine Reclamation Authority, not our homes – fisherfolk
Manila, Philippines – The fisherfolk group Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (Pamalakaya) on Monday urged President Rodrigo Duterte to abolish the Philippine Reclamation Authority (PRA) for the rampant destruction of coastal communities and marine environment that led to widespread displacement and demolition of fisherfolk and people living in the coasts.
The PRA (then Philippine Estates Authority) was created during late dictator Ferdinand Marcos’ regime under the Presidential Decree No. 1084 and is task to conceptualize and approve reclamation projects and convert coastal waters into income-generating government property.
The fisherfolk group said the creation of the PRA has no any legal basis that it even contradicts the Philippine Water Code, which prohibits filling of lands into the bodies of water because it destroys the marine environment and ecosystem.
“There can be no any argument in our demand to abolish the PRA for it is environmentally and legally out of basis. We want the PRA to be abolished for it persistently approves reclamation and conversion projects that put our marine environment at risk,” Fernando Hicap, Pamalakaya Chairperson said in a statement.
Pamalakaya said PRA’ National Reclamation Plan (NRP) involves more than 100 reclamation projects covering more than 30 thousand hectares of coastal areas in the archipelago.
More than two-thirds of the NRP or 38 of its projects are found in Manila Bay which covers 26 thousand hectares.
Reclamation in Manila Bay includes the newly-approved 600-hectare Pasay reclamation project which was awarded to SM Prime Holdings Inc., amounting $2 billion dollars and the 650-hectare Navotas Boulevard Business Park (NBBP) which was approved both by the PRA and Local Government Unit.
“Too many fancy and luxurious establishments have been built to displace us. Past administrations, through the PRA have rolled out red carpets for private and big business interests in exchange for productive fishing communities and tranquil lives of the coastal people. This grand sell-out of our coastal waters that kill our fishers has to stop,” Hicap said.
The fisherfolk group laments that due to large-scale reclamation in Manila Bay, fish catch of small fishers has dramatically decline; from 5-10 kilos before down to 2-5 kilos nowadays.
“We challenge President Duterte to unconditionally abolish the PRA and scrap all the existing reclamation projects if he wants to contribute in the restoring of our coastal communities especially Manila Bay back to its healthy stage,” Hicap ended. ###