Pamalakaya vows nationwide campaign against SMC Bulacan Aerotropolis project
Manila, Philippines – On the 47th anniversary of the Marcos dictatorship land reform program Presidential Decree 27, the Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (Pamalakaya) joined peasants and activists affiliated with the Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP) and Anakpawis Party-list in a protest at the Mendiola bridge in Manila. The group declared the campaign against the San Miguel Corporation’s 2,500-hectare Aerotropolis project in Bulakan town, Bulacan as nationwide.
Pamalakaya has 11 regional chapters and 43 provincial chapters including Ilocos Norte, Ilocos Sur, La Union, Pangasinan, Cagayan, Isabela, Aurora, Zambales, Bulacan, Rizal, Laguna, Cavite, Quezon, Batangas, Mindoro, Palawan, Camarines Sur, Albay, Sorsogon, Masbate, Iloilo, Antique, Capiz, Negros island, Cebu, Bohol, Northern Samar, Samar, Agusan del Norte, Surigao del Norte, Surigao del Sur, Davao Oriental, Davao del Sur, Davao Occidental and Sarangani.
“We are expecting their issuances of statement of opposition to the Aerotropolis project, and protest actions at regional or provincial DENR offices to demand the revocation of the environmental compliance certificate (ECC) issued to SMC contractor Silvertides for its “land development” cum reclamation project,” Pamalakaya National Chairperson and former Anakpawis Party-list lawmaker Fernando “Ka Pando” Hicap said during an interview at the protest.
He questioned the ECC issued to Silvertides, as supposed to be a public document, remained hidden and protected from public scrutiny, especially from the directly-affected fisherfolk sector in Brgy. Taliptip in Bulakan town, the location of the project. At least 700 fisherfolk families are being threatened to be displaced by the project from their homes and sources of livelihood.
“The classified nature of the ECC only adds to the chicanery of the Aerotropolis project. First it was for the Silvertides’ project, second SMC’s president Ramon Ang appears to be in cahoots with transportation chief Arthur Tugade for charading it as a done deal, amid absence of the ECC for the project itself, and third, what was the content of the contract they signed in September, and was it beneficial to the public interest or detrimental,” he raised.
Hicap questioned that if there was a liquidated damages or damage fee provision on the contract, in case the project does not push through on various reasons such as the disapproval of the ECC.
“If there was such provision, it adds pressure to the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) to hastily approve the ECC, to avoid such damage payment. If it does, Tugade should be held accountable for agreeing to such inexpedient contract,” the fisherfolk leader said.
In light of resolving the issues, Hicap challenged the DENR Region III office to publish the Silvertides’ ECC and for Tugade to do same with the contract with SMC.
“Restrictions to these pertinent documents only proves that there are some things to hide from the public and directly-affected sectors. Don’t wait for protest actions by the thousands in front of the SMC headquarters in Ortigas Center, before you heed this legitimate demand. There will be no let up by the fisherfolk movement on this clash of class interest, especially that our members across the country would also be taking up to the task,” he ended. ###