Fishers group denounces latest military harassment for Ramon Ang’s airport project in Bulacan
Manila, Philippines – The militant fisherfolk group Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (Pamalakaya) denounced the latest military harassment against residents of a Manila Bay fishing community in Brgy. Taliptip, Bulakan town or the very location of the 2,500-hectare Aerotropolis reclamation project being pushed by one of the Philippine’s richest oligarchs San Miguel Corporation (SMC) President Ramon Ang.
Members of Pamalakaya – Bulacan chapter reported that since December 28 to January 6, a dozen elements of the military are operating at the fishing community, looking for a site for its detachment and with the mission of “itaboy ang taong-labas” or usually a term used to tag members of the New People’s Army (NPA). Moreover, agents of the the military are displacing resident workers of fishponds to pave way for filling up a part of bay. The fisherfolk who are opposing the airport project as this means their displacement, decried the act as harassment to silence them.
“Kinukundena namin ang harassment ng military sa mga mangingisdang kumokontra sa proyektong Aerotropolis ni Ramon Ang. Ang lugar ay nasa Manila Bay, hindi bundok, walang NPA o taong-labas sa lugar. Ang totoong taong-labas ay si Ramon Ang dahil isa siya sa pinakamayamang oligarch sa bansa,” Pamalakaya National Chairperson and former Anakpawis Party-list lawmaker Fernando “Ka Pando” Hicap said in a press statement.
The fisherfolk leader said that Ang is truly an outsider as he leads the top conglomerate companies in the country such as the SMC and Top Frontier Holdings Corporation. The two were top of the list of 50 conglomerates who earned the biggest in 2018, more than P850 billion, as reported by the Business World.
He added that Ramon Ang’s project is a violation and contempt of the Supreme Court mandamus to rehabilitate and restore the marine environment of Manila Bay, it plans to reclaim the bay with more than 200 million cubic meters of fill materials, as projected by a marine environment advocacy group Oceana. It will displace fishing communities and destroy fishing ponds and even mangrove forests.
“Ito ang ebidensyang kapag para sa interes ng mga mayayamang oligarch ay lalabagin ni Duterte o ng kanyang military ang batas. Bukod sa kautusan ng Supreme Court na i-rehabilitate at i-restore ang Manila Bay, mayroon mismo siyang Administrative Order No. 16 para sa Manila Bay rehabilitation. Kaya, sa Aerotropolis project, mukhang baliw si Duterte dahil hinahayaan niya ito at kasali pa ang militar niya, na kontrahin mismo ang kautusan niya,” Hicap slammed.
Duterte’s Administrative Order No. 16 created the Manila Bay Rehabilitation Task Force led by Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Secretary Roy Cimatu. The DENR is supposedly carrying it out its own Manila Bay Rehabilitation program and according to the Supreme Court order, the Department of Agriculture and Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) should already be coordinating with the local government units (LGUs) for fishery development in Manila Bay.
“Malinaw na inutos na ng Supreme Court na dapat ay nire-restore at dinedevelop na ang fishery sites sa Manila Bay, pero nilalabag ito ng Duterte government, ni Ramon Ang at mga trapo sa mga LGU. Binabalewala nila ang batas, kaya mananagot sila rito,” the fisherfolk leader warned.
Finally, the issue of Aerotropolis reclamation project in Bulacan is one of the reason Pamalakaya opposed the appointment of DENR Secretary Cimatu as special envoy to the Middle East.
“Si Cimatu, missing in action sa isyu ng Aerotropolis at Manila Bay reclamation, gusto namang pumapel sa Middle East. Ang mga ganitong aksyon ay nagpapatunay na ang mismong gubyernong Duterte ay walang planong sundin ang kautusan ng Supreme Court. Dapat panagutin ang mga ito ng mamamayan na ipinaglaban ang pag-rehabilitate ng Manila Bay,” he ended. ###