Save Manila Bay and its fisherfolk – BFAR told
Manila, Philippines – Challenging the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) to fulfill its mandate in protecting the marine environment and welfare of fisherfolk, the national fisherfolk alliance Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (PAMALAKAYA-Pilipinas) asks its Director Eduardo Gongona to express opposition against destructive and widespread reclamation activities in Manila Bay, which according to the group is one of the primary factors on why the gulf gradually deteriorates.
The approach by the group came after Manila Mayor Joseph Estrada approved another reclamation project in Manila Bay, the Horizon project touted as Manila’s biggest land reclamation project covering 417 hectares of water. The project was proposed by the real estate J-Bros Construction firm and costs P100 billion.
“Manila Mayor Estrada is on a killing spree in approving development projects that would actually destroy Manila Bay and we have no last resort but to tap BFAR whose mandate is to preserve our marine environment and the Filipino fisherfolk. BFAR must denounce and reject the reclamation galore of the Manila Mayor for it will worsen the condition of the already dying Manila Bay,” Fernando Hicap, PAMALAKAYA Chairperson said in a statement.
PAMALAKAYA claimed not less than 100 reclamation projects throughout the country are being targeted by the Philippine Reclamation Authority (PRA) packaged within the National Reclamation Plan (NRP). PRA targets to complete the reclamation program by the year 2040, and for the fisherfolk group, this is tantamount to complete ejectment of fishing communities and destruction of our rich aquatic resources and marine biodiversity.
The group is seeking substantial program from the Fisheries Director on how to preserve our marine resources and save our fisherfolk from extreme poverty.
“We have yet to hear from Director Gongona on what exactly are his programs that will foster the fishing sector. Therefore, we are doubtful if he actually grasps the issue of our sector and that if he is qualified in his post. He must establish himself as a fisheries top official by rejecting all government and private activities that are disastrous both to the environment and lives of the fisherfolk,” ended Hicap. ###