World Fisheries Day 2019: Fishers, artists, and advocates unite to protect Manila Bay vs. reclamation

Manila, Philippines – Fisherfolk under the group Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (PAMALAKAYA) on Thursday marked the World Fisheries Day this year, with a street conference in front of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) central office in Quezon City in the morning, and a cultural night dubbed as ‘Concert by the Bay’ at the Plaza Rajah Sulayman, Malate, Manila in the afternoon.

The day is recognized worldwide to highlight the significance of the fishing sector in society and uphold the rights of fisherfolk in the world.

During the street conference at the DENR, PAMALAKAYA National Chairperson Fernando Hicap reiterated his group’s demand to environent Secretary Roy Cimatu to deny all the pending reclamation projects in Manila Bay an environmental compliance certificate (ECC), while to order cease and desist order to the projects that are already undertaking in the south part of Manila Bay in Cavite province.

“We have already submitted a formal complaint to Secretary Cimatu against the three ongoing reclamation projects in Cavite. But it seems that our collective appeal has fell into deaf ears. We demand this agency to be true to its mandate, and execute the Supreme Court mandamus to rehabilitate Manila Bay,” Hicap, who is also former Anakpawis Partylist solon said in a statement.

PAMALAKAYA was referring to the formal complaint it submitted against ongoing reclamation in Cavite, namely, the reclamation of a fishpond in Brgy. Maliksi III in Bacoor City, the reclamation in the Sangley Point Airport project in Cavite City, and the reclamation at the site of a Chinese-owned Philippine Offshore Gaming Operations (POGO) in Kawit town.

Joel Falcis, Spokesperson of PAMALAKAYA-Cavite said the reclamation projects in the province contradicts the government’s Manila Bay rehabilitation program, which is 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.

Falcis explained that “the reclamation activities appear dubious as no information is disclosed to the public. Thus, we demand the issue a cease and desist orders against the ongoing reclamation as they clearly violated the ulitmate goal of the rehabilitation program which is to restore its abundant ecosystem.”

PAMALAKAYA together with environmental and advocacy groups, capped the World Fisheries Day with a concert and sunset viewing in Manila, wherein artists and performers who supported the fisherfolks’ cause shared their talents and solidarity messages in a common goal to preserve the traditional function of Manila Bay into being a publicly accessible recreational site and as fishing grounds.

PAMALAKAYA, which has more than 40 provincial chapters nationwide, as leading organization is supported by various environment and climate justice groups, particularly on the campaign to save Manila Bay from destructive reclamation projects. ###

Fisherfolk and environmental advocates hold the 2019 World Fisheries Day Street Conference against Manila Bay Reclamation in front of the DENR office in Quezon City.
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