Fishers group calls to scrap Manila Bay expressway project under the guise of flood control
Manila, Philippines – After the fisherfolk group Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (Pamalakaya-Pilipinas) submitted its letter of complaint against reclamation projects in Manila Bay in Cavite at the House Committee on Ecology, it called for the scrapping of the planned expressway project under the guise of flood control to be built from Bataan to Navotas City.
It was named as Manila Bay Integrated Flood Control, Coastal Defense and Expressway Project and being peddled by the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) under the “Public-Private Partnership” program. The San Miguel Corporation (SMC), the very proponent of the P735-billion Aerotropolis project in Bulacan, was the single entrant and is proposing a P400-billion expressway project. At present, it is under evaluation of the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) Investment Coordination Committee and Technical Board.
Pamalakaya-Pilipinas opposed the project as it runs counter to the Supreme Court mandamus to “clean up, restore and rehabilitate” the bay’s water, destroy the marine environment and displace many fisherfolk communities from Bataan to Navotas City.
“Lumalabas na hindi seryoso ang rehimeng Duterte sa Manila Bay rehabilitation dahil kinokonsidera pa nito ang reclamation project na malaki ang magiging danyos mula Bataan hanggang Metro Manila. Malinaw na taliwas ito sa Supreme Court mandamus, dahil paano naman lalangoy ang mga tao at makakapaghanapbuhay ang mga mangingisda kung may nakaharang na expressway,” Pamalakaya-Pilipinas and former Anakpawis lawmaker Fernando “Ka Pando” Hicap said in a statement.
(It appears that the Dutere regime is not serious about Manila Bay rehabilitation as it still considers this reclamation project which will destroy the marine environment from Bataan to Metro Manila. This is clear violation of the Supreme Court mandamus, as the people will not be able to use the bay for recreation and fishery development when this expressway is already blocking paths.)
The fisherfolk leader branded the project as profit-oriented and is only being packaged as a flood control project. He claimed that this only suffer the same fate as the Pampanga Delta Development Project (PDDP) in Masantol town, which failed to alleviate the impact of flooding of communities in the Pampanga River basin and at present actually acts as a dam blocking the free flow of water towards Manila Bay, according to farmers and fisherfolk belonging to the Alyansa ng Magbubukid sa Gitnang Luzon (AMGL) and Pamalakaya-Central Luzon.
Hicap asserted that the project will trigger mass displacement as what was carried out for the PDDP. Near 2,000 families were displaced from near 1,200 hectares as clearing operations for the project. Instead, he demanded fishery development and restoration of marine ecosystem in coastal communities as long-term measures against flooding and even storm surges.
“Ang panawagan namin ay tunay na rehabilitation at reclamation-free Manila Bay. Ito ang iniutos ng Supreme Court. Binabalaan namin ang gubyerno sa tangka nitong paglabag rito,” he ended.
(Our standing call is genuine rehabilitation and reclamation-free Manila Bay. This is what the Supreme Court has ordered. We warn the Duterte government against defying it.) ###