Poll bets asked to take up reclamation issues

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Friday, February 8, 2013


CITY OF SAN FERNANDO -- National and local candidates running in the May 2013 elections are asked to take up the controversial issues surrounding the reclamation of coastal waters along Manila Bay. 

In a press statement, Anakpawis party-list vice chairperson Fernando Hicap lamented that only a few candidates in the May 2013 midterm elections have taken up the reclamation issues in favor of small fisherfolk and coastal dwellers, while a huge number of candidates, including Manila Bay-based politicians, are not keen to discuss their views to the public.

"Manila Bay is a home to and enjoins 25 million people from Southern Tagalog to Central Luzon. We are talking here of 25 percent of the country's population but majority of the politicians and contenders to the May 2013 elections are taking the issues arising from Manila Bay reclamation project for granted or as if these issues like livelihood and housing rights do not exist," Hicap observed. 

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The Anakpawis party-list official added: "The poll bets in the May 2013 elections appear clueless that not less than one million residents of Las Pinas City and Paranaque City will be displaced by reclamation projects to give way to a casino project that will house 3,000 slot machines and not less than 5,000 high end rooms for foreign gamblers."  

Pamalakaya vice chairperson Salvador France said the National Reclamation Plan (NRP), which will be undertaken by the Philippine Reclamation Authority (PRA) include the controversial P14-billion Las Pinas-Paranaque reclamation project. 

"The senatorial candidates, the congressional candidates, the local candidates, all of them are obligated to take a stand against large-scale and destructive reclamation. They cannot escape the people's inquiry on anti-people reclamation ventures of Aquino government under Public-Private Partnership escapade," said France.

According to Pamalakaya, marginal fishermen have been complaining of declining fish catch from an average of five kilos to 10 kilos per fishing trip prior to the reclamation and road project to two to three kilos of average fish catch due to the negative impact of reclamation and road infrastructures along Bacoor Bay.

Pamalakaya noted that 4,500 hectares of coastal areas covered by Manila Bay in Pampanga will be reclaimed for the Pampanga Bay Integrated Development Project. 

The fisherfolk group said the government through the PRA will also reclaim 1,317 hectares in the adjacent area of Malabon and Obando, Bulacan and another 5,574 hectares of coastal waters in the municipalities of Malolos, Paombong and Hagonoy, all in Bulacan province.

The group said another 2,054 hectares will be reclaimed in the coastal towns of Bataan province.

All in all, about 13,770 hectares of coastal areas will be reclaimed in Central Luzon based on NRP of the PRA.

Published in the Sun.Star Pampanga newspaper on February 09, 2013.

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