Fishers slam DENR’s issuance of ECC to Bacoor reclamation project

Fishers slam DENR’s issuance of ECC to Bacoor reclamation project

Manila, Philippines – “We strongly denounce the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DNER) for its issuance of environmental permit to a reclamation project in Manila Bay covering 420 hectares of its fishing waters. The DENR will regret this; expect that their office would be flooded and stormed by the furious fisherfolk and coastal residents on a regular basis for consenting to anti-environment and anti-people projects,” According to the militant fisherfolk group Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (PAMALAKAYA), saying the DENR has ‘completely separated from its mandate in protecting the environment’ by providing an environmental compliance certificate (ECC) to twin reclamation projects in Bacoor City, Cavite, being pushed as main proponent by its City Mayor Lani Mercado-Revilla.

“It is an obvious turnaround to their mandate in protection of the environment. The DENR was tasked to lead the rehabilitation of Manila Bay by no less than the highest Supreme Court, through its mandamus in 2008 directing several government agencies to rehabilitate its degrading ecosystem. Yet, this supposed lead agency is the one violating its very own program in restoring the ecosystem of Manila Bay,” Fernando Hicap, PAMALAKAYA National Chairperson said in a statement.

Hicap, former Anakpawis Partylist solon also said his group has ‘even submitted a formal complaint’ to the agency to look into the reclamation activities of several fishponds and mangroves in Bacoor City, which the group said was a violation to the Republic Act 8550 otherwise known as the Philippine Fisheries Code of 1998, which states that ‘public lands such as mangroves and ponds suitable for fishery operations shall not be disposed or alienated’.

The fisherfolk group learned the development of the project when its local chapter in Cavite held a dialogue with the Environment and Management Bureau (EMB) at the DENR cetral office yesterday. The technical officer of the EMB during the dialogue had confirmed that the ECC for Bacoor twin-reclamation project was ‘practically approved’ and is ‘under transmission’.

“The interests of local political clan in Cavite and private businesses prevail over the interest of thousands of fisherfolk and coastal residents who stand affected by this destructive reclamation project. More than 700 fishing and coastal families will be forcibly ejected from their houses to give way for ambitious development project by Mayor Revilla,” added Hicap.

“We are calling the public to support our campaign to protect the Manila Bay against reclamation and denounce the DENR for its anti-environment leaning,” ended Hicap. ###

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