Fishers oppose new Manila Bay reclamation project
Manila, Philippines – The militant fisherfolk group Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (PAMALAKAYA-Pilipinas) opposes the newly-approved reclamation project in Manila Bay covering 407.42 hectares of water, dubbed as ‘a city within a city’.
Manila Mayor Joseph Estrada has recently approved a multibillion-peso reclamation project in Manila Bay that will house business and commercial hubs for tourists. The project’s Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) was already signed by the Philippine Reclamation Authority (PRA) and the UAA Kinming Group Development Corp. on Monday.
In a statement, PAMALAKAYA blames rampant reclamation activities in Manila Bay that caused storm surges and environmental degradation resulting to fish catch depletion adversely affecting the livelihood of the small-fisherfolk.
“We hold the long-running reclamation activities in Manila Bay principally responsible for the degradation of the once productive fishing hub for the Filipino fishers. Manila Bay used to be productive fishing water before with an average daily fish catch of 10-15 kilos. But since the across-the-bay reclamation activities became a corporate-craze, the average fish catch of a fisherman drastically drops to 3-5 kilos all time low,” Fernando Hicap, PAMALAKAYA Chairperson said in a statement.
The fisherfolk group claims thousands of fisherfolk and coastal people have been ejected from different coasts of Manila Bay because of reclamation projects paving the way for commercial and business infrastructures at the expense of lives and livelihood of the fisherfolk.
PAMALAKAYA said reclamation activities over the years have made Manila Bay vulnerable to storm surges, ecological disturbances and severe floods affecting residential communities situated in Metro Manila.
“Now is the high time for the government to stop and ban all reclamation projects in Manila Bay that pose severe threat to the marine environment and social and economic rights of the fisherfolk. We urge President Rodrigo Duterte to pursue a genuine rehabilitation in Manila Bay that will restore its natural balance for the benefit of our fisherfolk and the Filipino people,” Hicap ended. ###