Decorating Manila Bay is not rehabilitation — fishers to DENR

Decorating Manila Bay is not rehabilitation — fishers to DENR

Manila, Philippines — “Revealing that the materials dumped along Manila Bay coast were actually synthetic granules makes things even worse. Why would you put an alien, synthetic materials in the coastline which could seriously hurt and disrupt its ecosystem?” According to the militant fishers group Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (PAMALAKAYA) on Friday, reacting to environment Undersecretary Benny Antiporda’s statement that the “white sand” being filled along the coast of Manila Bay was actually made of dolomites extracted from Cebu.

In a statement, PAMALAKAYA warned that synthetic granule materials filled into the coast might pose hazard to the marine ecosystem.

“If the DENR is sincere in rehabilitating the Manila Bay, they wouldn’t focus on external garnishing and costemic surgery, but would rather get to the bottom on why it is deteriorating and almost dying. The white sanding is actually a white washing of the government’s failure to rehabilitate and restore the Manila Bay back to its traditional use as fishing grounds,” Fernando Hicap, PAMALAKAYA National Chairperson said in a statement.

“The material being filled along the coastline is as synthetic and fake as the government’s rehabilitation campaign. It is a mass deception to make it appear that the Manila Bay is already restored when it is crystal clear that it is deteriorated as it is,” Hicap added.

The fishers group slated the DENR’s “hypocrisy” on Manila Bay rehabilitation, saying it approved several reclamation projects that would destroy its marine environment and cause massive displacement of fishing communities.

The group added that the Supreme Court mandamus was clear that the objective was to decrease the 7.21 million to 54 million most probable number (MPN)/100 mL to 100-200 MPN/100mL, or SB level or waters suitable for recreation; and for the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) to coordinate with local government units to develop fishery resources.

“Undersecretary Antiporda should be reminded that the fisherfolks are the frontline casualties in whatever program the government will undertake in Manila Bay. Instead of resorting to rants, he should heed our legitimate demands for genuine rehabilitation of Manila Bay and for the protection of its coastal communities against reclamation and other destructive projects,” Hicap, responding to Undersecretary Antiporda’s “rant” against PAMALAKAYA.

“The supposed mission of the Manila Bay rehab program is clear; but officials in the DENR are busying themselves with this unsustainable, band-aid cure, and probably financially unviable project. This should be immediately corrected, otherwise, they should be held accountable,” added Hicap. ###

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