Fishers’ group “highly believes” deliberate burning of coastal community in Bacoor City

Fishers’ group “highly believes” deliberate burning of coastal community in Bacoor City

Bacoor City, Cavite – “We don’t buy the usual fire accident narrative anymore because it has been established that setting a community on fire is the easiest, most acceptable, and effective way to demolish an entire community to pave way for projects for development aggression,” According to the regional chapter of the national fishers group Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (PAMALAKAYA) on Monday, raising suspicion that the fire that hit a coastal community in Bacoor City, Cavite last night was “intentional”.

Almost 400 fisherfolk and urban families were left homeless after a fire hit Brgy. Sineguelasan, Bacoor City in the middle of the ravaging Typhoon Rolly yesterday.

In a statement, PAMALAKAYA-Southern Tagalog (ST) Spokesperson Ronnel Arambulo said this was not the first time that a fire broke in a fishing community in Cavite’s coastal town. In April 2017, Brgy. Malicsi III was hit by a blaze, affecting 476 families; it was followed by a fire that broke in Brgy. Tabing Dagat on the morning of January 24, 2018. Same incidents happened in Barangays Malicsi I and Malicsi III in June 20, 2018, and a fire in Brgy. Talaba II in February last year that left more than 200 families homeless.

PAMALAKAYA-ST said that the fire-ravaged communities are the coastal sites with impending reclamation project being pursued by the Bacoor City local government under its Mayor Lani Mercado-Revilla. Given the circumstantial precedents, the fishers’ group said, there is a “high probability” that the fire was not by accident, but rather intentional.

“Mayor Mercado-Revilla has an ambitious 420-hectare reclamation project that threatens to displace more than 700 fishing and urban poor families and destroy the thriving mangroves in the southern portion of Manila Bay. Suspecting that the fire was deliberate given the impending project in the community with prevailing threat of displacement to residents is a complete no-brainer,” PAMALAKAYA-ST’s Arambulo said in a statement.

“We will get to the bottom of this subsequent fire in coastal communities once and for all, and see to it that the mastermind of this arson would be held accountable,” Arambulo added.

For his part, PAMALAKAYA National Chairperson Fernando Hicap appealed to Cavite Governor Jonvic Remulla to secure the affected residents and ensure that they would be able to return to their communities.

“Hindi dapat i-relocate ang mga nasunugan. Taktika na ng lokal na pamahalaan ito para pabilisin ang pagpapalayas sa mga mangingisdang maaapektuhan ng reklamasyon. Nananawagan kami kay Governor Remulla na tiyaking makakabalik sa komunidad at kabuhayan ang mga apektadong residente,” Hicap, former Anakpawis Party-list solon added.

Lastly, PAMALAKAYA said they will conduct relief operations drive to gather livelihood support and aid for the affected fishing families of both the fire and successive typhoons. ###

Photos by Arkibong Bayan.

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