PAMALAKAYA calls to protect live corals in Cavite against reclamation galore
Bacoor, Cavite — The national fishers group Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (PAMALAKAYA) is calling the Manila Bay Task Force (MBTF) to enforce the environmental laws that would protect the coral reefs recently discovered in the south part of Manila Bay.
The MBTF was created by virtue of the Administrative Order No. 16, directing concerned government agencies to expedite the rehabilitation of Manila Bay. It is led by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Secretary Roy Cimatu, which according to PAMALAKAYA is “forsaking its duty to protect Manila Bay against destructive projects”.
PAMALAKAYA 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 DENR also claimed that 72% of estimated reef area in Manila Bay is found in Cavite.
“Even by DENR’s own account, Cavite is one of the resource-rich areas situated along Manila Bay, and yet, reclamation activities are already taking place in the province. This clearly is DENR’s betrayal to its own mandate to protect the environment, and moreover, a violation to the highest supreme court order to preserve and restore the deteriorating Manila Bay,” Fernando Hicap, PAMALAKAYA National Chairperson said in a statement.
“The discovery of live corals in the Southern part of Manila Bay was an indicator that the bay is still alive and well, and rehabilitation is feasible only if there is a political will and sincerity from the enforcing agencies, with the holistic participation of the fishing communities that genuinely advocate the restoration of our traditional fishing grounds,” Hicap, former Anakpawis Party-list Representative added.
Lastly, PAMALAKAYA asserts that the fisherfolk sector does not deserve displacement to pave way for reclamation projects intended for commercial and business establishments. This is especially when the Supreme Court mandamus, aside from ordering to restore the waters for recreational use, it included fishery resources development.
“Not less than 26, 000 fishing and coastal families in Cavite are facing the looming threat of dislocation courtesy of reclamation. We vow to oppose this grand sellout of Manila Bay, and conversion of our communities in a form of reclamation galore at all cost,” Hicap highlighted.
In response to the apparent inaction of the government agencies, fisherfolk communities took matter into their own hands by launching the Manila Bay Watch Reporting on Sunday. It aims to closely monitor and expose reclamation activities in the Cavite coastal areas.
“If the DENR officials have no plans of going outside their comfortable offices, the fisherfolk sector would be the ones to take the task of monitoring these environmentally destructive projects. Ultimately, their inaction will only prove that all the blabber about Manila Bay rehabilitation early this year, is just a ploy of the Duterte government,” he ended.
Meanwhile, local members of PAMALAKAYA in Bacoor City yesterday together with environmental group Center for Environmental Concerns (CEC) conducted site investigation on a fishpond adjacent to Manila Bay that is being reclaimed. The groups found out that the project details and permit, if there is any, were not disclosed to the public. ###
Photos of Reclamation of a fishpond in Bacoor City part of Manila Bay, as of October 27, 2019