Generate financial aid sans reclamation, fisherfolk to Duterte
Manila, Philippines – “Extending financial assistance to the poor can be done sans allowing destructive reclamation projects in Manila Bay. Subsidy and economic aid which the people rightfully deserve should not cost us of our natural heritage and one of the major fishing grounds of millions of small fisherfolk,” According to the militant fishers group Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (PAMALAKAYA), lambasting the remark of President Rodrigo Duterte floating that he may allow reclamation projects in Manila Bay in exchange for financial assistance from businesses during his latest nation address.
The fisherfolk group said that ‘the government has yet to disburse the P275-billion emergency budget’ supposedly for social amelioration program (SAP) and intended for rehabilitation of poor families who are affected by the month-long enhanced community quarantine.
PAMALAKAYA reminded Duterte that Manila Bay is under rehabilitation program in compliance with the Supreme Court mandamus directing several government agencies to restore, rehabilitate, and clean-up the historic gulf.
“We warn Duterte not to wager our marine environment in seeking financial support from businesses. Lest he forget, Manila Bay is currently undergoing a costly rehabilitation drive and reclamation will effectively defeat the purpose of restoring its ecological balance,” Fernando Hicap, PAMALAKAYA National Chairperson said in a statement.
The group instead demanded Duterte to ‘consolidate productive sectors such as those involved in agriculture and food, small and medium enterprises, manufacturing, among others, to generate the social and basic needs of the poor amid the public health crisis. ###