Fishers trooped to San Miguel Corporation’s head office to protest Bulacan Aerotropolis, Manila Bay reclamation
Manila, Philippines – Fisherfolk from Bulacan and Cavite under the group Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (PAMALAKAYA) today trooped the head office of San Miguel Corp. (SMC) in Ortigas Center in Mandaluyong City to protest the 2,500-hectare Aerotropolis project in the coastal waters of Bulakan, Bulacan. The group said the aerotropolis project, of which its center-piece is the New Manila International Airport (NMIA), threatens the communities and sources of livelihood of at least 700 fishing families in Barangay Taliptip of the said town, as well as the ecosystem of northern part of the Manila Bay.
“This project will undoubtedly destroy the ecosystem of Manila Bay, as well as wipe out thousands of fisherfolk who subsist in the productive waters of Manila Bay by catching and culturing various types of fish, crabs, and shellfish,” Fernando Hicap, PAMALAKAYA National Chairperson said during the protest.
Hicap warned the public against supporting the SMC project as it runs counter to the ideals of corporate social responsibility amid their claim that they help communities by caring for the environment and contributing to countryside development.
“This firm’s means of development is to wipeout an entire fishing community and displace its coastal residents for profit. We caution sectors from being involved in this project to avoid the people’s outrage,” the fisherfolk leader added.
Rice Farms Also Under Threat
The group also raised what they said, as the more serious threat when productive rice lands in Bulacan fall under the control of real estate brokers and developers and subjecting them to land-use conversion. Hicap said that this is very probable given that the Duterte government itself brought bankruptcy to rice farmers via his Republic Act 11203 Rice Liberalization Law.
The province remained in the top 5 Rice Achiever Awardee for four years until 2018. It was based for high average yield of 250,000 metric tons per hectare for 500,000 hectares of harvested area. The province posted more than 365,000 metric tons in 2018.
“Hindi na lang ang panganib ng pagbaha at pagkawasak ng mga ari-arian ng mga mamamayan ng probinsya ang idudulot ng Aerotropolis, kundi mismong kagutuman,” he said.
The province will be forced to rely from outside sources for its rice requirement, instead of aiming for self-sufficiency.
After the SMC protest, the groups headed to the central office of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) to demand the agency not to reject all the reclamation projects in Manila Bay, which PAMALAKAYA recorded a total of 42 projects covering more than 30, 000 hectares of its fishing waters. ###