Cavite fishers submit formal complaint vs reclamation projects in south Manila Bay

Quezon City, Philippines — The provincial chapter of the national fishers’ group Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (PAMALAKAYA) on Thursday filed a letter of complaint to the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) central office on the three ongoing reclamation activities in the Manila Bay in Cavite area.

Below is the body of the complaint.

LETTER OF COMPLAINT AGAINST
RECLAMATION PROJECTS IN MANILA BAY IN CAVITE

November 7, 2019

GEN. ROY A. CIMATU (Ret.)
SECRETARY
Department of Environment
And Natural Resources (DENR)

Quezon City

CC:

HON. GLONA G. LABADLABAD
Chairperson
Committee on Ecology
House of Representatives

Quezon City

MS. LANI MERCADO-REVILLA
Mayor
Bacoor City

Cavite

MR. NIETO S. TOLEDO
Chairperson
Brgy. Maliksi III

Bacoor City, Cavite

DEAR SECRETARY CIMATU:

We, residents of fisherfolk communities of Cavite and members of Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas Cavite Provincial Chapter (PAMALAKAYA-Cavite) sending this letter of collective complaint against on-going reclamation projects in the province, namely:

  1. the reclamation of a fish pond in Brgy. Maliksi III in Bacoor City, which is adjacent to Manila Bay;
  2. the reclamation in the Sangley Point Airport project in Cavite City; and
  3. the reclamation at the site of Chinese-owned Philippine Offshore Gaming Operations (POGO) in Kawit town.

We firmly oppose the on-going reclamation of a fish pond in Bacoor City as we see it as the start of the 420-hectare Bacoor Reclamation and Development Project being pushed by Mayor Lani Mercado-Revilla and in contradiction with the DENR’s Manila Bay Rehabilitation Program, based on the Supreme Court mandamus to clean up and rehabilitate Manila Bay and restore its waters to be fit for human recreation and fishery resources development.

Based on our knowledge, this project does not have environmental compliance and DENR officials publicly announced its cancellation during your agency’s budget hearing at the senate. Hence, we raise the question on whether the DENR has approved the reclamation of the fish pond. Attached herewith are some photos that depicts that it is threatening the mangrove forest and materials used are mixed with garbage.

Aside from these, the activity appears dubious as no information is disclosed to the public and no public consultation nor announcement was conducted. Moreover, in case it is a government project, no signage of project details are installed, and if it is a private activity, there was also no signage for a building permit.

On the cases of reclamation activities in Sangley Airport in Cavite City and construction of the Chinese POGO in Kawit town, the fisherfolk residents claim that they threaten the marine environment of Manila Bay, particularly the coral cover that the Ecosystems Research and Development Bureau (ERDB) reported in April this year. The bureau reported that of near 300 hectares of the Manila Bay’s surveyed coral reef area, 72% were found in Cavite. Also, attached herewith are some photos of reclamation activities.

Coinciding this, small fishermen reported declines in catch and harvest and fear for their environmental impact such as during high tide and storm surges, hence, we appeal the agency to:

  1. comprehensively investigate the impacts of these projects to the marine environment, consequently to the livelihood of fisherfolk communities;
  2. to publicize the Environment Impact Statements (EIS) of these projects, if the agency did so approved the Environmental Compliance Certificate;
  3. to issue a cease-and-desist order as the projects, including the reclamation of the fish pond in Bacoor City, violated the goals of the DENR Manila Bay Rehabilitation Program and Supreme Court mandamus to rehabilitate Manila Bay.

As part of the contribution of people’s organization to the pursuit of Genuine Manila Bay Rehabilitation, we are submitting this complaint and hoping for an objective agency action.

For Genuine Manila Bay Rehabilitation,


(Sgd.)
JOWEL FALCIS
Spokesperson
PAMALAKAYA – Cavite


(Sgd.)
FERNANDO HICAP
National Chairperson, PAMALAKAYA-Pilipinas /
Former Representative, Anakpawis Party-list

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