Fishers urged gov’t to suspend reclamation while battling pandemic

Fishers urged gov’t to suspend reclamation while battling pandemic

Manila, Philippines — As the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) in most parts of Luzon is about to end on May 15, and approaching to a softer general community quarantine (GCQ), a group of small fisherfolk urged the government to suspend reclamation projects across Manila Bay. The call was after the announcement that infrastructure activities will resume under the GCQ.

In a statement on Tuesday, Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (PAMALAKAYA) raised fear that along with infrastructure, land reclamation which would be found majority in Manila Bay will also resume.

“Reclamation and demolition must not push through. Fisherfolk and coastal families can’t afford to lose homes, not especially in this time of a health emergency situation. Ejecting them from their communities to pave way for reclamation projects will run contrary to the stay at home policy,” Fernando Hicap, PAMALAKAYA National Chairperson said in a statement.

“Furthermore, we should all learn the lesson that food security during the lockdown was an indispensable issue, next to public health. Reclamation projects will only add to the undermining of food security situations in Metro Manila, which is already affected by the limited movement of agri-fishery products,” added Hicap.

PAMALAKAYA said that prior to the pandemic corona virus disease (COVID-19), three reclamation projects were ongoing in the Cavite province, southern part of Manila Bay. The strict health protocols to contain the pandemic have put those projects on hold.

“While we are all focused on combating a plague, the government must postpone if not totally scrap all destructive reclamation projects in the entire Philippine waters. This demand is for the protection of our food producers and food sources,” ended Hicap. ###

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