Navotas fishers trooped City Mayor Tiangco to protest eco-tourism and fishing
Navotas, City – Around 50 fisherfolk under the group Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (PAMALAKAYA-Pilipinas) staged a picket in front of the Navotas City Hall to demand the incumbent Mayor John Rey Tiangco to issue a moratorium on the excessive fishing taxations and strict fishing rules under the amended Fisheries Code of 1998 or Republic Act 10654.
The protesting fisherfolk from barangay Tangos lamented the absurd fishing regulations that curtail their fishing activities.
The fisherfolk group opposes the registration scheme added in the provisions of the Fisheries Code, where municipal fishermen are required to register their boats up to their simplest fishing gear with corresponding charges and fees. If caught by bantay dagat or sea patrols offshore unregistered, they will be charged with heavy fines and subjected to stiff penalties, including confiscation of fishing gears and fish catch.
“The registration fee is a burden to small fishermen like us because we barely earn enough for our daily needs due to depleting fish catch and rising cost of fishing production,” Romy Broqueza, PAMALAKAYA-Navotas Spokesperson said.
Aside from the fisheries code, the fisherfolk also protested the ongoing reclamation project in their community, known as the Navotas Boulevard Business Park (NBBP), a 650-hectare reclamation project intended for commercial and eco-tourism use. The project was approved on 2015 by the Philippine Reclamation Authority (PRA) as requested by Mayor Tiangco.
“The NBBP if completed will effectively displace more than 20,000 fisherfolk and urban poor in the town. Currently, the local government is already installing fences and markers along the shoreline in preparation to the project, impeding our fishing activities,” added Broqueza.
As negotiated by the residents, the local government spares only a small space to serve as passageway for fishing boats. But the fisherfolk fears that the completion of the project will totally close the shoreline and completely block their boats from going offshore.
The group warned that the project threatens the fish supply of the country’s “fishing capital” because aside from community displacement of thousands of fisherfolk, it will destroy Manila Bay’s degrading marine biodiversity.
“The ongoing reclamation project will totally destroy the remaining mangrove areas in Manila Bay resulting to reduction of marine productivity and loss of fish species,”
“We demand Mayor Tiangco to heed our demands, we want the hefty fishing regulations and taxations be abolished and to stop the ongoing reclamation project in our fishing community,” ended Broqueza. ###