Fishers decry demolition threat amid ‘stay-at-home’ policy
Manila, Philippines “It is both inhumane and injustice to force fishing families to self-demolish in the middle of a public health crisis. And while the government is strictly enforcing a stay-at-home policy, demolition of communities for reclamation will push through,” According to the militant fisherfolk group Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (PAMALAKAYA) on Friday, lambasting the demolition threat to coastal families of barangay Taliptip in Bulakan, Bulacan for the construction of the 2,500-hectare “aerotropolis project of the San Miguel Corp. (SMC).
According to PAMALAKAYA-Bulacan, elements of the 48th Infantry Battalion on June 16 told the fisherfolk families that “whether it rains or not, construction of the airport will push through”, and convinced the residents to self-demolish in exchange for compensation.
The new manila international airport (NMIA), which will serve as the centerpiece of the “aerotropolis project”, is a 2,500-hectare reclamation project by SMC to be constructed in the coastal town of Bulakan in Bulacan province.
“Displacing fishing families from their community is contradictory to the government’s stay-at-home order. Moreover, these families mostly subsist in Manila Bay by fishing. Relocating them to far-flung areas with no livelihood nearby will worsen their hardships,” Fernando Hicap, PAMALAKAYA National Chairperson said in a statement.
PAMALAKAYA earlier called for the suspension of reclamation projects in Manila Bay and across the archipelago while the country is battling the pandemic.
“Reclamation is both detrimental to the environment and socio-economic lives of the fisherfolk. We demand the government to postpone if not totally scrap these environmentally destructive projects,” Hicap, former Anakpawis Party-list solon added.
“Furthermore, the government should learn the lesson that food security during the quarantine was an indispensable issue, next to public health. Reclamation will only add to the undermining of food security, which is already affected by the limited movement of agricultural and fisheries products,” ended Hicap. ###
Photos from SAVE Taliptip.