DENR facilitating foreign-sellout of Ph seas – fisherfolk
Manila, Philippines – The progressive fisherfolk alliance Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (PAMALAKAYA-Pilipinas) said the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) is facilitating the sell-out of our fishing waters to foreign investors through the government’s nationwide “clean-up” campaign and the “no build zone” policy.
The provincial chapter of PAMALAKAYA in Palawan has reported that the municipality of Coron has already been surveyed by DENR officials in preparation to the relocation of fishing families residing within the 40-meter areas categorized as “danger zones”.
According to Elias Ruta, PAMALAKAYA-Palawan Spokesperson, around 400 families in Coron will be displaced in pursuant to the “no build zone” policy which was first implemented in the aftermath of the super-typhoon Yolanda in 2013.
“Balak palayasin ang mga mangingisda sa tabing-dagat habang mananatili ang mga pribadong istruktura at dadagdagan pa nga ng mas malalaking mga negosyo sa baybaying-dagat. Hindi rin kami naniniwala na ang pagiging “danger zone” ng aming lugar ang dahilan kung bakit kami palalayasin dahil sa dinami-dami ng mga dumaang kalamidad, nananatili pa ring nakatindig ang aming mga bahay nang wala ni anumang tulong ng gubyerno,” Ruta who is a local fisherman in Coron said in a statement.
The report from the local fisherfolk leader came before the statement of the DENR that Coron would be the next target for government’s “clean-up” campaign due to “high levels of fecal and other forms of coliform in its waters.” The DENR on the same statement also said the campaign will be incorporated with “relocation of informal settlers and removal of illegal structure within the three-meter easement zone of the bay.”
Meanwhile, PAMALAKAYA National Chairperson and former Anakpawis Party-list solon Fernando Hicap slams the DENR for acting as the instrument of foreign-plunder and corporate-takeover of the Philippine seas. The former solon said it is even hard to trust the rehabilitation of our marine environment to a former military general Roy Cimatu who has no track record on addressing environmental issues, only a “pabaon” corruption scandal.
The DENR is in-charge in the Boracay crackdown but the fisherfolk group said the shutting down of beach resorts in the island is to give way to the $500-million integrated casino-resort by a Macau-based developer Galaxy Entertainment Group.
“Even from the start, we all know that the real score behind the “no build zone” policy is not to safe guard the fisherfolk from natural disasters but to peddle our marine resources and coastal waters to big local and foreign business groups at the cost of community and fishing rights of our fisherfolk,” Hicap said in a statement.
PAMALAKAYA said the fisherfolk and coastal settlers need government assistance in times of natural disasters to mitigate the impact of calamities, not a permanent displacement and complete denial of their fishing rights. ###