International Coastal Cleanup Day: Fishers and urban poor held coastal clean-up in Baseco

International Coastal Cleanup Day: Fishers and urban poor held coastal clean-up in Baseco

Manila, Philippines – In time of the International Coastal Cleanup Day, members of the fisherfolk group Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (PAMALAKAYA) and Anakpawis-Baseco held their “Fishers’ Cleanup to Save Manila Bay” along Baseco bayside of Manila Bay, as part of their campaign for a genuine rehabilitation and against reclamation projects.

“Fishers and coastal communities are actually advocates of Manila Bay’s cleanliness, as we are victims of the water pollution that causes fish catch depletion among other environmental degradation,” Fernando Hicap, PAMALAKAYA National Chairperson said during the cleanup drive in Baseco today.

PAMALAKAYA refuted the accusation of Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Undersecretary Benny Antiporda questioning the groups opposed to the dolomite dumping “where were they” when Manila Bay was full of garbage.

The fishers group noted that on top of the coastal cleanup drive and campaigning for solid waste management in communities, they have been also fighting against reclamation projects, which the group said are actually the bigger threat to the Manila Bay’s ecosystem.

“We have been always at the forefront of guarding our traditional fishing grounds against destructive government and corporate projects. We fought past reclamation projects such as the one intended for the Navotas dumpsite in 2004, which is actually the culprit behind ton-loads of garbage that continue to pollute the bay,” Hicap added.

PAMALAKAYA said a total of 547 hectares of reclamation projects will be carried out in the coastal waters of Manila’s most populated urban poor community for the expansion of existing ports and for mixed use. These include the 50-hectare expansion of the existing Manila Harbour Centre proposed by R-II Builders Inc., the other 50-ha. Baseco Rehabilitation and Development Inc. (BRADI) reclamation project, the 40-ha. Philippine Reclamation Authority (PRA) reclamation project, and the biggest 407-hectare City of Pearl reclamation project proposed by Chinese-owned UAA Kinming Development Corporation. All the said projects were already approved by the Manila local government and remain unopposed by the DENR, which heads the Manila Bay rehabilitation task force.

The fisherfolk group said that around 45,000 fisherfolk and urban poor families in Baseco will be displaced if the reclamation projects proceed.

PAMALAKAYA said they would regularly conduct coastal cleanup in other coastal communities along Manila Bay. ###

Coastal cleanup at the BASECO Bay by Pamalakaya and fisherfolk families.

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