Suspend ‘beach nourishment’ project, Cimatu urged

Suspend ‘beach nourishment’ project, Cimatu urged

Manila, Philippines – The militant fishers group Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (PAMALAKAYA) on Monday urged Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Secretary Roy Cimatu to suspend the “beach nourishment” project in the Manila Baywalk, following his suspension of the two mining firms involved on the extraction and processing of dolomite in Alcoy, Cebu.

In a statement, the fishers group lambasted as “absurd” the suspension order against the Dolomite Mining Corp. (DMC) and the Philippine Mining Service Corporation (PMSC), when the “beach nourishment” project in Manila Bay still proceeds.

“Mr. Cimatu seems to be out of his mind when he had the two mining firms suspended yet the beach nourishment project which these two firms have been supplementing remains in full operation. He even defends and justifies this ridiculous and useless project being part of Manila Bay rehabilitation when in fact, “beach nourishment” was never mentioned on the Supreme Court mandamus,” Fernando Hicap, PAMALAKAYA National Chairperson said in a statement.

Hicap, former Anakpawis Party-list solon, was referring to the 2008 Supreme Court mandamus directing several government agencies, headed by the DENR, to cleanup, restore, and rehabilitate Manila Bay.

PAMALAKAYA said that the suspension order by Secretary Cimatu was “actually to cover-up the white sand mess and that it would never restore the marine life adversely affected by the dolomite mining in Cebu”.

“Damage has already inflicted to the marine environment. It will take time to restore the coral reefs destroyed by this mining operation. Moreover, its impact to the local fishermen could be even worse, as it might affect their daily fish catch,” Hicap added.

PAMALAKAYA demands that the DENR and the two mining firms involved should pay for the damage they caused to the marine ecosystem, as it could be “fatal” to the fishing environment and livelihood of the local fishers. The fishers group also said that it would take a year for a millimeter of corals to return to its sound condition, and it will take 250 years for a meter of coral to mature. ###

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