NEDA Chief’s planned-sabotage vs. LUC moratorium hit
Manila, Philippines – The militant fisherfolk group Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (Pamalakaya) on Monday assailed the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) Director General Ernesto Pernia for opposing the two-year moratorium on land-use conversion (LUC).
The Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) has earlier issued an unprecedented moratorium on LUC that prohibits transforming agricultural lands into tourism and private infrastructure purposes for two years. But the NEDA and its so called ‘economic team’, through its Director General opposes the decision for according to them, this will be the ‘cause of delay of government’s infrastructure projects and would give no room to investors’.
“DAR’s moratorium on land-use conversion is the first time in our history and considered as initial victory to the long-peasant’s struggle. This will spare the farmers and fisherfolk from rampant eviction from their communities in exchange for eco-tourism projects yet the NEDA wants to impede this road towards a genuine land reform that will benefit our farmers and fishers. NEDA’s stand against LUC-moratorium is anti-people with tantamount to willful betrayal among the Filipino peasantry,” Fernando Hicap, Pamalakaya Chairperson said in a statement.
Pamalakaya raised doubts if Pernia’s statement was the official statement of the administration regarding the moratorium of LUCs.
“For whom does Pernia speak for? Did he speak in behalf of the administration? Or did he speak for himself and for the big-business interests in exchange for putting the lives and livelihoods of the people at the very stake? We want to know the truth what is behind Pernia’s all-out rave against DAR’s moratorium plan,” Hicap said.
NEDA is one of the responsible for the widespread reclamation and conversion of coastal communities for it contunously approves reclamation projects. Recent coastal-reclamation project approved by NEDA was the Laguna Lakeshore Expressway Dike Project (LLEDP) during then-President Noynoy Aquino. The LLEDP is a Public-Private Partnership (PPP) project which set to construct a 47-kilometer expressway road dike from Laguna to Muntinlupa and includes 700-hectare reclamation for commercial and mixed use. Around 4.9 million fisherfolk and urban poor families will set to be displaced when this projects is pushed through.
“NEDA has a long history of treachery among the fishers. We expect it would be different now since we have a new administration but it seems change has not yet exist under the economic authority. We urge President Duterte to look into NEDA’s planned sabotage on the moratorium of LUCs and support the farmers and fishers’ call for a total moratorium of all reclamation and conversion projects aim at wiping out productive rural communities,” Hicap ended. ###