PAMALAKAYA refutes Congressman Barzaga on Manila Bay pollution
Manila, Philippines – “Congressman Barzaga has just exposed himself as an ignoramus on the state of Manila Bay by blaming that informal settlers are the main polluters. He is not even residing near the coastal areas, thus he does not have any credibility to speak on behalf of the residents who truly suffer from the deterioration of Manila Bay,” According to the national fishers’ group Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (PAMALAKAYA) on Wednesday, reacting to Cavite 4th district Representative Elpidio “Pidi” Barzaga over his statement during a committee hearing held last Monday that informal settlers are to blame on the pollution of Manila Bay.
Citing the data gathered by environmental group Center for Environmental Concerns (CEC), PAMALAKAYA said 74% of solid wastes in Manila Bay are garbage that were already collected by garbage collectors dumped into the existing landfills, contrary to the accusation of the government that it all came from the residents situated along the bay to justify displacement. The study also claimed that the 300, 000 informal settler families (ISF) that are target for relocation only contributed a tiny 5.01% of the total solid waste.
“This debunks Congressman Barzaga’s claim and accusation that informal settlers are the main source of pollution in Manila Bay. First of all, we belong to the category of small earner families with very little purchasing power so there is no chance that we are capable of producing large volume of garbage,” Fernando Hicap, PAMALAKAYA National Chairperson said in a statement.
Hicap, former Anakpawis Partylist Representative added that his group has been long-promoting for a genuine rehabilitation of Manila Bay without displacement of fishing and coastal communities who are actually legitimate advocates for the restoration of the historic body of water back to its traditional use as fishing grounds, not commercial and business hub in a form of land reclamation.
“Communities have been calling for genuine rehabilitation, not the façade bannered by the current administration for reclamation projects. Fishing and urban poor families are actually advocates of restoring the bay to its pristine condition. We opposed past reclamation projects that snatched the people of public access to the beautiful sunset, and the reclamation for the Navotas dumpsite in 2004, which is the culprit for ton-loads of garbage that polluted the bay. We are victims with Manila Bay of these reclamation projects that displaced us and took away our sources of livelihood,” ended Hicap. ###