PAMALAKAYA slams ongoing reclamation in Sangley Point, urges DENR to probe, protect coral reefs in Cavite

PAMALAKAYA slams ongoing reclamation in Sangley Point, urges DENR to probe, protect coral reefs in Cavite

Manila, Philippines – The militant fisherfolk group Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (PAMALAKAYA) has raised the alarm against an ongoing reclamation in the southern part of Manila Bay, amid the rehabilitation campaign of the national government to restore and preserve the deteriorating body of water.

In the photos taken by PAMALAKAYA’s local members yesterday, a backhoe was caught dumping and filling soils in the coastal waters adjacent to the Philippine Navy’s naval station in Sangley Point, Cavite City.

In a statement, the group said that there is a long-standing plan to reclaim at least 2,700 hectares of south Manila Bay for the construction of an international airport, that costs P500 billion. The airport project is proposed by the Cavite provincial government under a joint venture with the Chinese-state owned Chinese Communications Construction Company (CCCC) and a local business group led by Luis “Buboy” Virata. But the group said the project is still pending in the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA).

The fishers group, then questions why the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) allows or at least tolerates this destructive activity, when it is the lead agency in the inter-agency task force to rehabilitate Manila Bay. It is mandated to monitor the activities going on in Manila Bay, and most of all, it is empowered to disapprove any project that is detrimental to the environment, by not issuing an environmental compliance certificate (ECC).

PAMALAKAYA also cited the DENR’s Ecosystems Research and Development Bureau’s (ERDB) report and discovery of live coral covers in the Southern part of Manila Bay. The agency claimed that 72% of estimated reef area in Manila Bay is found in Cavite.

“Despite apparent non-disclosure of project details and other pertinent documents, the reclamation has already been taking place at the coastal area which used to be a traditional fishing ground for small fisherfolks. Moreover, why is the DENR seemed to be mum on this apparent environmental destruction? Unless they have dubiously issued an ECC to the questionable project, we demand them to transparently probe the project and publish the environmental impact statement (EIS), if such one even exists,” Fernando Hicap, PAMALAKAYA National Chairperson said in a statement.

“While study shows that majority of coral reefs lie across the coastal waters of Cavite, thousands of hectares of reclamation projects, on the other hand, are also pending and already operating in the province,” added Hicap.

Hicap, a former solon for Anakpawis Party-list also slammed the rehabilitation drive of the government when it is allowing destructive reclamation to happen.

“Scientists and experts have long proven that there is no science in the world that tells us that reclamation is good for the marine and aquatic environment,” added Hicap.

PAMALAKAYA said that on top of the environmental catastrophe of the Sangley Point reclamation, it would adversely affect at least 26,000 fishing and coastal families in 7 towns in Cavite; namely, Cavite City, Noveleta, Tanza, Naic, Rosario, Kawit, and Bacoor City. ###

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