THE Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (PAMALAKAYA) fishers group has the incoming environment secretary to stop reclamation projects especially in Manila Bay which is undergoing rehabilitation program.
PAMALAKAYA released the statement in response to the announcement that Ma. Antonia “Toni” Yulo-Loyzaga will become the new secretary of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR).
“Incoming DENR secretary Yulo-Loyzaga should stop all the ongoing reclamation projects across the country, especially in Manila Bay. She must adhere to the mandate of her department to protect and preserve Manila Bay for the benefit of the people. Reclamation has long been proven to be destructive both to marine biodiversity and livelihood of fisherfolks,” PAMALAKAYA spokesperson Ronnel Arambulo said.
The fishers’ group said DENR is head of the government’s Manila Bay Rehabilitation Program.
PAMALAKAYA also cited the 2008 Supreme Court mandamus to “clean-up, rehabilitate, and preserve Manila Bay”.
“Being the head agency of the Manila Bay rehabilitation program, the DENR should be the first and firm to oppose any destructive activities, including reclamation,” Arambulo said.
PAMALAKAYA criticized DENR for giving go-signal to reclamation projects that allegedly contributed to the degradation and destruction of Manila Bay’s resources such as mangroves, seagrasses, and aquaculture.
The group claimed DENR issued environmental compliance certificates (ECCs) to the 320-hectare reclamation project in Bacoor City, Cavite, and the land reclamation of Silvertides Holdings Corp., a contractor of San Miguel Corp. (SMC) for the construction of its 2,500-hectare Bulacan Aerotropolis project.
“Environment secretary Yulo-Loyzaga could opt to the complicity of the DENR to massive destruction of marine resources through reclamation and earn the ire of the people or she could stand alongside the fisherfolks and champions of the environment in genuinely protecting marine biodiversity against all forms of destructive projects,” Arambulo said.
PAMALAKAYA recorded around 50 reclamation projects in Manila Bay that cover more than 30,000 hectares of fishing grounds, mangrove areas, and aquaculture.