“Keep Manila Bay fish safe; oppose destructive projects”, BFAR told
Manila, Philippines – The militant fisherfolk group Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (PAMALAKAYA-Pilipinas) backs the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) on its pronouncement that Manila Bay fish are free of bacterial contamination and safe to eat.
In a media forum dubbed as “Tapatan sa Aristrocrat” yesterday, the BFAR claimed that water conditions and quality in Manila Bay remain normal, thus marine products are still safe to eat.
Fernando Hicap, PAMALAKAYA Chairperson who was also at the media forum, on the other hand challenged BFAR to spearhead the preservation of marine species not only in Manila Bay but in the entire fishing waters of the country by rejecting destructive corporate projects like reclamation, dumping of industrial wastes, and conversion of fishing grounds into commercial use.
“Matagal na naming alam na ligtas kainin ang mga isda sa Manila Bay, may ilan lang na nagsasabing hindi na ito ligtas pero hindi ito napatunayan. Hindi pa rin nawawala ang banta ng tuluyang pagkaubos ng mga isda at pagkasira ng yamang dagat ng Manila Bay dahil sa mga proyektong kumbersyon at reklamasyon na sumisira sa ekolohiya nito,”
“Kaya hinahamon namin ang BFAR na pumosisyon laban sa mga mapanirang proyekto na ito at tiyakin na palagiang ligtas ang mga isda ng Manila Bay at ng iba pang pangisdaan ng bansa para matiyak rin ang seguridad sa pagkain ng mamamayang Pilipino,” Fernando Hicap, who is also a fisherman in Rosario, Cavite said.
(“We all know that aquatic and marine products in Manila Bay are safe to eat, there are only few people who say that it is not safe but it was never proven. But the threat of depletion of fish and degradation of marine resources are highly prevalent due to conversion and reclamation projects that destroy its natural ecology,”
We challenge the BFAR to take a stand against these destructive corporate projects and assure that marine products in Manila Bay and other fishing grounds are always safe, this will also guarantee the food security of the Filipino people,”)
PAMALAKAYA said the reports about contamination in Manila Bay are highly doubtful unless subjected to thorough research. Not only the fisherfolk but the entire 30% Manila Bay population as well as the residents of Metro Manila consume its fish yet there were no reported bad effects.
Aside from reclamation projects that cover 29,929.56 hectares of coastal waters in the whole Manila Bay, discharges of untreated water wastes from thousands of commercial and industrial establishments, and operations discharges from commercial ships comprise the almost 60% of the contaminated water of Manila Bay.
“Bilang ahensyang nakatuon sa pangisdaan, hindi lamang obligasyon ng BFAR na tiyaking ligtas ang mga isda, kundi higit pang obligasyon nito na pangalagaan ang karapatan sa kabuhayan at pangisdaan ng mga Pilipinong mangingisda,” added Hicap.
(As a lead government agency that focuses on fisheries, the obligation of BFAR is not only to assure that the fish products are safe, but moreover to ensure the rights of the fisherfolk in their livelihood and fishing grounds,”)
The fisherfolk group said reclamation projects in Manila Bay would effectively displace thousands of fishing families and would create a major fish shortage in the National Capital Region (NCR). ###