DENR’s dismantling order vs Manila Bay fishing structures should be revoked – fishers’ group

Manila, Philippines – The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) should completely revoke its directive to dismantle fishing structures in Manila Bay covering four coastal towns of Cavite or “face heightened resistance” from the affected fisherfolk, the militant fishers’ group Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (PAMALAKAYA) warned on Friday.

The dismantling of fishing structures, supposed to start on September 7 in Noveleta, Kawit, Cavite City, and Bacoor City in Cavite did not push through, yet the DENR said the order is still standing.

In a statement, PAMALAKAYA said that the demolition order, which threatens the livelihood of at least 15, 000 fisherfolk and mussel and oyster growers in Cavite should be “completely terminated” as it is “unjust, undemocratic, and totally irrelevant” to the Supreme Court (SC) mandamus ordering rehabilitation of Manila Bay.

“The SC mandamus on Manila Bay is being used against the fishing and coastal population across the bay. The Duterte government treats us like garbage and our source of livelihood as pollutants yet intentionally turning a blind eye on the big fish industries that actually pollute, plunder, and destroy the bay for their business interest,” Fernando Hicap, PAMALAKAYA national chairperson said in a statement.

Hicap, a fisherman in Manila Bay was referring to the 2008 SC mandamus directing various government agencies to clean-up, restore, and rehabilitate the body of water for recreational use and fishery resources development.

“It was never mentioned in the SC mandamus to wipe out small fishing structures which aside from providing a livelihood for fisherfolk, they contribute to the productivity of Manila Bay and the country’s fishery production and food security,” Hicap said.

Hicap, also former representative for Anakpawis Party-list, said they are ready to take legal action against the demolition order.

“The strong opposition of the fisherfolk across Manila Bay should be taken by the DENR as a sign to withdraw its dismantling order. But if the DENR refuses to do so, we are ever-ready for a continuous resistance anyway,” ended Hicap. ###

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