Fishers agonize reclamation in Navotas
Manila, Philippines – The militant fisherfolk group Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (PAMALAKAYA-Pilipinas) on Thursday decried the ongoing installation of fences and markers on the shore of Brgy. Tangos, a fishing community in Navotas City. The fences and markers are in preparation with the Navotas Boulevard Business Park (NBBP), a 650-hectare reclamation and eco-tourism project approved by the Philippine Reclamation Authority (PRA) as requested by Navotas City Mayor, John Rey Tiangco.
The project was approved during then-President Benigno Aquino III, of which according to PAMALAKAYA will effectively demolish around 20,000 fisherfolk and urban poor residents in Navotas City.
The fisherfolk group said the completion of the markers made of gravel and the fences made of metal will block the fisherfolk from going offshore to make livelihood. They said the project has been planned since 2012 but the strong resistance of the fisherfolk and urban settlers effectively delayed the project.
“The ongoing reclamation activity in Navotas will entail massive demolition of fishing community, worse, it will wreak heavy toll to the already dying Manila Bay. The Manila Bay has already deteriorated since trend of reclamation activities has become a corporate and government craze. Thousands after thousands of hectares of foreshore and offshore areas are being reclaimed to build private and government projects resulting to the detriment of livelihood of fisherfolk and the fragile marine environment,” Fernando Hicap, PAMALAKAYA Chairperson said in a statement.
PAMALAKAYA expressed disappointment that President Rodrigo Duterte has adopted the privatization policies and projects of his predecessor, including the Laguna Lakeshore Expressway Dike Project (LLED) which is currently suspended due to failed bidding.
“We urge President Duterte to put all the reclamation and conversion of fishing grounds to stop to preserve our marine environment from further degradation and moreover, to save the community and livelihood of our poor fisherfolk. We vow to oppose and frustrate the NBBP and all reclamation activities involving coastal communities by all means,” Hicap ended. ###