PAMALAKAYA slams approval of SM reclamation in Manila Bay
Manila, Philippines – The national fisherfolk group Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (PAMALAKAYA) on Wednesday decried the approval of the City of Pasay to property giant SM Prime Holdings to reclaim another 360-hectare in Manila Bay, adjacent to the SM Mall of Asia.
In a statement, the fisherfolk group said the reclamation would be violative of the 2008 Supreme Court Mandamus directing several government agencies to ‘clean-up and rehabilitate Manila Bay, and restore its waters to be fit for human recreation and fishery resources development’.
“The approval to reclaim Manila Bay clearly contradicts the highest court’s order, as well as the present administration’s rehabilitation program. Ultimately, dumping and filling of waters would defeat the purpose of restoring the historic harbor and traditional fishing grounds of thousands of small fisherfolk,” Fernando Hicap, PAMALAKAYA National Chairperson said in a statement.
Hicap, former Anakpawis Partylist solon, also slammed the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) for ‘failing to execute its mandate in protecting the marine environment of Manila Bay’.
The Administrative Order No. 16 was issued by President Rodrigo Duterte in February 2019, creating the Manila Bay Task Force led by the DENR, and mandating all involved agencies for cooperation and coordination.
“As the lead agency of the Manila Bay Task Force, the DENR is supposed to be spearheading the rehabilitation of the degrading body of water. But the environment department seems to be sleeping in oblivion amid the actual reclamation projects,”
“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. Now the DENR has yet to issue an outright rejection to the newly-approved reclamation project to hit Manila Bay,” added Hicap.
“If the SM reclamation project pushes through, the DENR will expose itself further as the destroyer of the natural environment. Its officials are also putting themselves into facing ton-loads of legal and administrative cases, as the fisherfolk and coastal settlers are screaming of irregularities in the issuance of permits to the projects,” ended Hicap. ###