Cimatu, MIA vs. Manila Bay reclamation, wants action in the Middle East – Pamalakaya
Manila, Philippines — As a response to the appointment of environment secretary Roy Cimatu to evacuate the Filipino workers in the Middle East amid the ongoing tensions in the region, the militant fishers group Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (PAMALAKAYA) on Wednesday reminded the former military general on his “unfulfilled” job to rehabilitate the Manila Bay, and keep its coastal residents safe from massive displacement caused by reclamation projects.
“The welfare of millions of Filipino workers in Iraq and Iran who are deemed affected by the ongoing tension caused by the United States’ aggression is an urgent concern, but it lies on the functions of foreign affairs and labor officials, and distant to the environment chief who is seen by various people’s organizations as ‘missing in action’ (MIA) against projects that destroy the environment and biodiversity,” Fernando Hicap, PAMALAKAYA National Chairperson said in a statement.
The fisherfolk group said Secretary Cimatu should instead closely monitor the state of the Philippine environment which is currently threatened by destructive projects such as reclamation, mining, construction of mega dams, among others.
“He was MIA against ongoing reclamation activities in Manila Bay, and silent against the planned reclamation projects in Bulacan, Cavite and Pasay City, and now he wants to get involved in the action in the Middle East. His presence in the Middle East is irrelevant and nothing but an added bureaucracy,” the fisherfolk leader slammed.
Last November, Pamalakaya and fishermen from Cavite formally submitted their letter of complaint to Cimatu’s office against reclamation project in Cavite such as the Chinese POGO project in Kawit, the Sangley Airport, and the Revilla-sponsored Bacoor Reclamation and Development Project. They have yet to receive any formal reply from the DENR. Last month, the Pasay City government announced that it has approved another reclamation project by the SM Holdings Corp.
“These projects are all conflicting to Cimatu’s very own Manila Bay Rehabilitation Program, and now he wants to busy himself in the Middle East. It appears that President Rodrigo Duterte is not confident with officials from the mandated department to pull out someone who is dozing off from his supposed tasks on environmental protection,” Hicap ended. ###