Fisherfolk, environmentalists unite against coastal conversion & reclamation
Manila, Philippines – The militant fisherfolk group Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (PAMALAKAYA-Pilipinas) on Wednesday spearheaded the launching of the broad alliance Koalisyon Kontra-Kumbersyon at Reklamasyon (KKKR) at the Redemptorist Church Baclaran. The alliance includes environmental groups Kalikasan People’s Network for the Environment, Center for Environmental Concerns (CEC), church organizations, and students from St. Scholastica and University of the Philippines Manila.
In a unity statement, the anti-reclamation alliance vows to oppose all types of reclamation and conversion of fishing waters and coastal communities that pose adverse effects both to socio-economic rights of the fisherfolk and marine environment.
PAMALAKAYA during the forum presented the national plan of Philippine Reclamation Authority (PRA) to reclaim more than 40,000 hectares of fishing waters throughout the country. Approximately 2/3 of the project will be found in Manila Bay including the 148-hectare Solar City Project and the newly approved project of Manila Mayor Joseph Estrada dubbed as ‘city within a city’ covering 407.42 hectares of the gulf.
“If completed, the grandiose plan of PRA will eject thousands of fisherfolk families and coastal settlers from their livelihood and coastal community. It will pose grave threat to the marine environment and its resources that can also have long-term effect on the country’s fish supply and food security,” Koalisyon Kontra-Kumbersyon at Reklamasyon (KKKR) said in a unity statement.
The alliance claims that already 20,000 hectares of Manila Bay have been already reclaimed over the last 40 years to pave way to special economic zones in Bataan and Cavite; and the Entertainment City in Roxas Blvd. including the SM Mall of Asia, and Solaire Hotel and Casino. More than 6,000 fisherfolk families have been displaced to carry out the construction of Entertainment City during then-President Fidel V. Ramos.
The highlight of their call is to abolish the Philippine Reclamation Authority (PRA) and to scrap all its pending and ongoing reclamation projects.
“As stated in the Philippine Water Code Section 27, it is strictly prohibited to construct any structure to navigable and floatable waterways that could impede its natural free passage, therefore, the creation of the PRA is illegal as well,” the alliance said.
The anti-reclamation alliance will troop the head office of the Philippine Reclamation Authority (PRA) in Makati, City on May 31, in time for the national fisherfolk day. ###