Militant solon sought probe on R-1 Expressway Extension Project
Militant lawmaker Rafael Mariano of Anakpawis party list last week filed House Resolution 1004 urging Negros Rep. Ignacio “Iggy” Arroyo, chair of the House Committee on Natural Resources and the House Committee on Ecology, to investigate a joint congressional inquiry on the harsh impacts of the 11-kilomter road R-1 Expressway Extension Project in Cavite province.
In his resolution filed last February 12, the activist lawmaker noted that aside from grave environmental destruction, the ambitious project that intends to connect the Manila-Cavite Coastal Road to other towns of the province up to Cavite City, will displace 26,000 fisherfolk and urban poor families from their main source of livelihood and abode.
“The project will further destroy the remaining coral and mangrove areas in Cavite province. The project is also being blamed for diminishing catch and for the flooding in Bacoor and nearby towns in the province,” the Anakpawis party list representative said.
Mariano agreed with the observations raised by the Samahang Magdaragat ng Bacoor, Cavite and the militant fisherfolk alliance Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (Pamalakaya) that reclamation activities conducted by the Philippine Reclamation Authority (PRA) and the UEM-Mara Philippine Corporation violated the recent Supreme Court decision
(GR Nos. 17:947-48, MMDA vs. Concerned Residents of Manila Bay, December 18, 2008) on the rehabilitation of Manila Bay, adding that the reclamation is destructive to marine environment.
The militant party list solon agreed with Pamalakaya that the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) and other government officials from the top to the local government levels are using the recent high tribunal ruling on Manila Bay to effectively carry out the demolition of fish traps and other mussel growing structures in the bay to pave way for the fast-tracking of big ticket projects like R-1 and the Sangley Point international sea and airports.
Meanwhile, Pamalakaya national chair Fernando Hicap announced that his group will sponsor a legal forum on the recent Supreme Court ruling on Manila Bay on Feb. 16 at the Ibon Center in Quezon City. The activity titled “Manila Bay by Day, Manila bay by Night” will have Atty. Jobert Pahilga, executive trustee of Sentro Para sa Tunay na Repormang Agraryo (Sentra), and campaign advocacy officer of the National Union of Peoples’ Lawyers (NUPL) as a resource person.
“We will explore what legal actions we will take against the government and the concerned government agencies regarding this across-the-bay onslaught of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and her officials,” he said.
“If there are legal basis to file class suit, and other criminal and civil cases against the government, the government top and local officials and their private clients, then by all means, we will pursue these charges,” Hicap added.
The Pamalakaya leader said his group was also urging Senator Ma. Consuelo “Jamby” Madrigal, chair of the Senate Committee on Environment to conduct a Senate inquiry on R-1 Expressway Extension Project.
Hicap said the office of Sen. Madrigal told them that the senator is inclined to investigate the harsh impacts of the Cavite Coastal road extension project on small fisherfolk and urban poor residents along the coastal villages of the province. #