Manila, Philippines – The local government units (LGU) in four coastal towns in Cavite should defy the dismantling of mussel (tahong) and oyster (talaba) farms being spearheaded by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) as these are under their direct jurisdictions, according to the national fishers’ group Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (PAMALAKAYA).
In a statement on Monday, the fishers’ group urged the LGUs from Cavite City, Bacoor City, Noveleta, and Kawit in Cavite to “stand alongside their coastal constituents on their fight against the unjust order of the DENR to demolish tahungan and talabahan in Manila Bay”.
On the pretext of rehabilitation, PAMALAKAYA claimed that the national government, through the DENR, is carrying out a massive destruction campaign against the livelihood and fishing rights of tens of thousands in Manila Bay.
The fishers’ group asserted that fishing structures in Manila Bay do not contribute to pollution, but rather boost ecological productivity by catering the food needs of the fish-eating population across Manila Bay.
Citing the Section 16 of the Local Government Code of 1991, PAMALAKAYA said that the LGUs are mandated to promote the general welfare of their constituents and ensure support, among other things, the preservation and enrichment of culture and enhance the right of the people to a balanced ecology within their respective territorial jurisdiction.
“The local executives in Cavite are morally, politically, and constitutionally obliged to protect the welfare of tens of thousands of fisherfolk who are deemed to lose their source of livelihood courtesy of the national government’s directive against fishing structures in Manila Bay,” Fernando Hicap, PAMALAKAYA national chairperson said in a statement.
PAMALAKAYA earlier raised its suspicion that the dismantling order is a “prelude to massive reclamation projects that are meant to wipe out not only the fishing structures but also the fishing villages along Manila Bay”.
“The DENR deserves nothing but defiance from the coastal population for using the rehabilitation program against us. We will continue to oppose this undertaking in various legal institutions such as the Supreme Court and the Philippine Congress, and through mass actions in the parliament of the streets and in the court of public opinion,” Hicap, former Anakpawis Party-list representative added.
The schedule of the fishing structures dismantling in Manila Bay has been reset from September 7 to September 25. The fishers’ group said it will continue to monitor and protest the demolition order. ###