Pamalakaya memorandum to SC on Manila Bay ruling

Republic of the Philippines
SUPREME COURT
Manila

METROPOLITAN MANILA G.R. Nos. 171947-48
DEVELOPMENT AUTHORITY, ET AL.,
Petitioners,

– versus –

CONCERNED RESIDENTS OF
MANILA BAY, represented and
joined by DIVINA V. ILAS, ET AL.,
Respondents.
x – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – x

PAMBANSANG LAKAS NG MGA MAMALAKAYA NG PILIPINAS (PAMALAKAYA) AND PAMBANSANG LAKAS NG MGA MAMALAKAYA NG PILIPINAS-SOUTHERN TAGALOG (PAMALAKAYA-ST), as represented by PEDRO GONZALES, ANAKPAWIS PARTYLIST as represented by CHERRY CLEMENTE, SAMAHANG MAGDARAGAT NG BACOOR CAVITE as represented and joined by MICHELLE P. GAYO, JIMBOY FRANCISCO, LUZAINE MILABO, ROGELIO CANTON, RENATO PRIETO, EDITO FERNANDEZ, EVELYN MARANA, SUSAN PAEZ, JESUS BALQUIN, DONATO VILLAFUERTE, ERLINDA QUILAPIO, ILUMINADA CABORNAY, CHARITO FRANCISCO, EDITO FERNANDEZ, GONDILINDA FERNANDEZ, REYNALDO SALAC, NENITA LAGARAN, SARAH CARNAJE, and RODOLFO TORRES
x – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – x
MEMORANDUM FOR INTERVENORS

INTERVENORS, by the undersigned counsel, unto the Honorable Court, most respectfully submit this Memorandum and aver that:

Prefatory Statement:

1. The task to clean up, rehabilitate and protect the Manila Bay is long overdue. Manila Bay is the source of livelihood of the intervenors and as such, they are one with the Honorable Court and the respondents in the pursuit of the goal to restore and maintain the Manila Bay to SB level not just to make it fit for swimming, skin-diving, and other forms of contact recreation but also to maintain it as the enduring source of livelihood of the fisherfolks therein.

Material Facts of the Case:

2. Manila Bay, prior to its deterioration was once the second most productive fishing ground in the Philippines. It is home to 23 million Filipinos, from Central Luzon-Bulacan, some parts of Pampanga, Bataan, National Capital Region and Cavite. Because of rampant reclamation projects in Manila Bay, its mangrove areas shrank from 54,000 hectares several decades ago, to 2,000 hectares in 1990 and further 794 hectares in 1995;
3. Almost 20,000 hectares of Manila Bay have already been reclaimed over the last 30 to 40 years to give way to special economic zone projects in Bataan and Cavite, the commercial spaces occupied by the Manila Film Center, the GSIS Building in Pasay City, the Cultural Center of the Philippines and Folk Arts Theater in Manila, and the SM Mall of Asia and other commercial companies in Pasay City and Parañaque City;

4. From 1992 to 1995, the demolitions of coastal shanties became an everyday ordeal in Pasay Reclamation area. Houses were uprooted on almost day-to-day basis. Small and big time bribery to divide the communities were conducted to facilitate the demolition of coastal communities. This scenario was lately resurrected when, after the decision of the Honorable Court was promulgated in December 18, 2008, the DENR caused the demolition and destruction of the houses, fish pens, fish cages and fish traps of small fisherfolks in the Manila Bay especially in Bacoor, Cavite supposedly as part of the cleanup drive of DENR of the bay;

5. During the year 1992-1995, some 3,500 small fisherfolk and their families in Pasay Reclamation Area and another 3,000 coastal and urban poor families along the coastal shores of Parañaque were evicted by the government of former President Fidel Ramos to give way to reclamation projects which is now home of the commercial buildings thereof;
6. Almost 60 percent of pollution entering Manila Bay comes through the Pasig River, and 80 percent of the pollution comes from industries and commercial establishments situated along the country’s major river system in the National Capital Region. Another 15 percent of the pollution that gets into Manila Bay comes from Pampanga River, which is colonized by big and small polluting factories;

7. Just recently, the DENR is blaming over fishing as a major factor in the degradation of Manila Bay but for the intervenors and fisherfolk groups it is a flimsy and ridiculous excuse.

8. In the year 2006, the national government through the Philippine Reclamation Authority (PRA) and its contractor partner UEM-Mara Philippine Corp. are reclaiming an additional 7,500 hectares of coastal waters off Manila Bay for the R-1 Expressway Extension Project, which will be annexed to the Manila-Cavite Coastal Road Project;

9. On June 21, 2007, President Arroyo signed Executive Order No. 629 directing the PRA to develop Sangley Point in Cavite City into a logistical hub with modern seaport and an airport, citing the R-1 expressway extension project as enabling component;

10. The R-1 Extension Project resulted to diminished fish catch and destruction of remaining corals and mangroves in Manila Bay. The same Cavite road project is also being blamed for the flooding in Bacoor and nearby coastal towns in the province;

11. The PRA also plans to reclaim 5,000 hectares of coastal waters in Cavite City to expand Sangley port, and this undertaking together with the R-1 Expressway Extension Project will affect the livelihood and the housing of 26,000 fisherfolk and urban poor families in the coastal towns of Bacoor, Kawit, Binakayan, Noveleta and Cavite City;

12. On top of the R-1 Expressway Road Extension Project and the Sangley Port project, the Macapagal-Arroyo government has given the state-owned Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (Pagcor) the environmental clearance certificate and the big go-signal to develop the 15 billion dollar casino in the 90-hectare reclaimed area in Roxas Boulevard into a Las Vegas style casino and theme park complex in Manila Bay ($400-M investment in 2 years);

13. In February 2009, DENR caused the destruction of the mussels, fish cages and fish traps of the movants. Every week, eight hundred fourteen thousand pesos (P814,000.00) of public funds were used by DENR in demolishing fish traps and mussel growing structures in Manila Bay, including make-shift structures.

14. In the demolition of the fish traps and mussel growing structures of the small fishermen, the DENR were invoking the decision of the Honorable Court as basis thereof;

15. Also, supposedly based on the decision of the Honorable Court, the DENR intends to wipe out all fish traps inside the 4 hectare fishpen belt of Manila Bay to fast-track the reclamation in favor of the project R-1 Expressway. Malacañang, the DENR, the DPWH and the PRA in partnership with UEM-Mara Philippine Corporation are moving heaven and earth to jumpstart all the projects in Manila Bay and the affected fisherfolk and urban poor families are being offered compensation ranging from five thousand pesos (P5,000) to twenty thousand pesos (P20,000.00) displacement fees so they could move out of the areas targeted for the projects;

16. Moreover, the 7-kilometer R-1 extension project, which will involve the reclamation of 7,500 hectares of submerged public lands and mangrove areas in Manila Bay will connect the Manila-Cavite Road from Bacoor to Kawit, and it will continue inland up to Noveleta for a total of 11 kilometers. The project will further destroy the remaining coral and mangrove areas in the Cavite portion of Manila Bay. Aside from environmental destruction, the R-1 Expressway Project will remove 26,000 fisherfolk and urban poor families from their main source of livelihood and abode;

17. In addition, another 5,000 hectares of coastal waters will be reclaimed by PRA to develop and widen the land area of Sangley port to make it one of major and most modern logistical hubs not only in Southern Tagalog region, but in the entire country.

Issues:

I. WHETHER OR NOT THE DECEMBER 18, 2008 DECISION OF THE HONORABLE COURT JUSTIFIED OR AUTHORIZED THE DEMOLITION OF THE HOUSES OF SMALL FISHERMEN IN THE COAST OF THE MANILA BAY AND THE DESTRUCTION OF THEIR FISH PENS, FISH TRAPS AND FISH CAGES INCLUDING THE MUSSEL GROWING STRUCTURES THEREIN.

II. WHETHER OR NOT THE RECLAMATION OF THE SUBMERGE PUBLIC LANDS AND MANGROVE AREAS OF THE MANILA BAY INCLUDING THE CONSTRUCTION OF THE R-1 EXPRESSWAY EXTENSION PROJECT ARE COVERED BY THE CONTINUING MANDAMUS FOR THE CLEAN UP, REHABILITATION AND PROTECTION OF THE MANILA BAY.

Arguments/Discussion:

The structures used to grow mussels and to catch fish that were put up by the small fishefolks are not the cause of degradation of the Manila Bay.

18. The decision of the Honorable Court dated December 18, 2008 does not warrant or suggest that the rights of small fishermen in the Manila Bay be trampled upon. Nothing in the decision gives the petitioners, especially the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) the authority to demolish and destroy the houses and source of livelihood of the movants.

19. Let it be noted that they or the structures they have put up in Manila Bay were not the source of the pollution, toxic waste or contamination of the bay. It is the source of their livelihood and these activities of the small fisherfolks constitute passive fishing, and therefore not destructive to the environment and the Manila Bay but in fact, they are environment friendly;

20. More importantly, the fishing activities of the small fisherfolks are not the cause of the degradation of the Manila Bay but the toxic chemicals and industrial waste of factories and companies. They were sourced not from the Manila Bay itself. As stated in the material facts of the case, almost 60 percent of pollution entering Manila Bay comes through the Pasig River, and 80 percent of the pollution comes from industries and commercial establishments situated along the country’s major river system in the National Capital Region. Another 15 percent of the pollution that gets into Manila Bay comes from Pampanga River, is colonized by big and small polluting factories.

21. Prescinding from the above, there is no justification whatsoever for the demolition of the houses of the small fisherfolks of Manila Bay and the destruction of the mussel-growing structures, fish traps or cages that they have put up therein;

22. Ostensibly, therefore, the decision of the Honorable Court was merely used as cloak to justify the intention of the DENR to get rid of the structures established and used by the movants to grow mussels and to catch fishes in Manila Bay in order to give way to the construction of R-1 Expressway Extension Project of the Philippine Reclamation Authority. The same decision will later on be used by the petitioners to justify the further demolition of the houses of small fishermen and the destruction of the mussel-growing structures, fish traps and fish cages to give way to further reclamation activities in the bay. Thus, on the guise of implementing the decision of the Honorable Court for the clean up, protection and rehabilitation of Manila Bay, the DENR has dismantled and will dismantle the structures used by the movants for growing mussels and for catching fishes in the Manila Bay. But it could not be denied that their real intent is to get rid these structures to allow the unhampered construction of R-1 Expressway Extension Project and reclamation of the portion of the Manila Bay without risk of civil, criminal and/or administrative suits and without compensating anything to the movants.

23. It must be said then, that the misplaced interpretation and interpretation of the decision of the Honorable Court by the petitioners especially the DENR will defeat the significance and usefulness of the decision. They have led their sight to the small fishermen, while turning a blind eye to the destructive effect of the conversion and reclamation projects in Manila Bay;

The massive reclamation, privatization and conversion of the public lands and coastal communities along the Manila Bay should be covered by the decision and continuing mandamus to ensure the complete clean up, rehabilitation and protection of the bay.

24. The material facts of the case should be taken seriously. It shows that the massive privatization and conversion of public lands and coastal communities along the bay since the Marcos dictatorship up to present administration of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo in the form of reclamation and subsequent lease or sell out to private companies is the principal reason why Manila Bay is under the Intensive Care Unit, and suffering from environmental comatose. Unfortunately, however, the decision of the Honorable Court seemed not to have covered or included it on the activities that need to be enjoined or regulated in the bay.

25. Restating the facts, it is clear that almost 20,000 hectares of Manila Bay have already been reclaimed over the last 30 to 40 years to give way to special economic zone projects in Bataan and Cavite, the commercial spaces occupied by the Manila Film Center, the GSIS Building in Pasay City, the Cultural Center of the Philippines and Folk Arts Theater in Manila, and the SM Mall of Asia and other commercial companies in Pasay City and Parañaque City. These activities resulted to ecological imbalance in the Manila Bay are not to mention that it has destroyed a fertile fishing ground and decreases the area of the bay.

26. In addition, there is the on-going construction of the R-1 Expressway Extension Project which has already resulted to diminished fish catch and destruction of remaining corals and mangroves in Manila Bay. The same is also being blamed for the flooding in Bacoor and nearby coastal towns in the province;

27. Let it be noted that the 7-kilometer R-1 Expressway Extension Project will involve the reclamation of 7,500 hectares of submerged public lands and mangrove areas in Manila. The project which is approximately 40 percent completed will further destroy the remaining coral and mangrove areas in the Cavite portion of Manila Bay and will remove 26,000 fisherfolk and urban poor families, including herein movants from their main source of livelihood and abode;

28. As was already stated, the R-1 project has also already caused the destruction not only of the corals of the Manila Bay but also of the livelihood and fishing activities of small fishermen in the coastal town of Cavite especially in Bacoor.

29. Prescinding from the above, the intervenors submit that the Honorable Court should also look at the reclamation projects undertaken in the Manila Bay and include the same in the activities that should regulated if not discontinued to ensure the success of the clean up, rehabilitation and protection of the Manila Bay so as not to put the landmark decision naught and useless.

PRAYER

WHEREFORE, PREMISES CONSIDERED, it is most respectfully prayed from the Honorable Court to:
1. ORDER the petitioners, especially the DENR to cease and desist from the demolition of the houses of the small fishermen in the coastal towns of Manila Bay;

2. ORDER the petitioners, especially the DENR to cease and desist from destroying the mussel-growing structures, fish pens, fish traps and/or fish cages of the small fishermen in the Manila Bay;

3. ENJOIN the reclamation activities in the Manila Bay;

4. ENJOIN the construction of the R-1 expressway Construction Project unless it is shown that it will not destroy the ecological balance of the Manila Bay, the livelihood of the small fisherfolks thereon, and that it will not pollute and contribute to the further degradation of the bay;

OTHER RELIEF, just and OTHER RELIEF, just and equitable under the premises, is likewise prayed for.

February 23, 2009, Quezon City for Manila.

JOBERT I. PAHILGA
Counsel for the Intervenors
PTR No. 0631912/03-06-2008/Navotas
IBP No. 748133/03-17-2008/Antique
MCLE Compliance No. II-0012413/09-08-2008
Roll No. 48289
SENTRO PARA SA TUNAY NA REPORMANG AGRARYO (SENTRA)
161-B Chico St., Project 2, Quezon City

Copy furnished:

OFFICE OF THE SOLICITOR-GENERAL
134 Amorosolo St., Legaspi Village
Makati City

ATTY. ANTONIO OPOSA
Counsel for the Respondents
6-J Westgate Tower, Investment Drive
1780 Alabang, Muntinlupa City

Republic of the Philippines )
Quezon City ) s.s.

VERIFICATION/CERTIFICATION

WE, FERNANDO HICAP, CHERRY CLEMENTE, MICHELLE GAYO, JIMBOY FRANCISCO, LUZAINE MILABO, ROGELIO CANTON, RENATO PRIETO, EDITO FERNANDEZ, EVELYN MARANA, SUSAN PAEZ, JESUS BAQUIN, DONATO VILLAFUERTE, ERLINDA QUILAPIO, ILUMINADA CABORNAY, CHARITO FRANCISCO, EDITO FERNANDEZ, GONDILINDA FERNANDEZ, REYNALDO SALAC, NENITA LAGARAN, SARAH CARNAJE and RODOLFO TORRES, all of legal age, Filipino, after having been duly sworn to in accordance with law, hereby depose and state that:

1. We are the intervenors in this case;

2. We have caused the preparation of this memorandum; have read and understood the contents thereof; and that the same are true and correct of my personal knowledge and based on authentic records.

3. We further certify that we have not commenced any other action or proceedings involving the same case in the Supreme Court, the Court of Appeals, or in any other tribunal or agency; and that to the best of our knowledge, no such action or proceeding is pending therein except the instant case. Furthermore, should we thereafter learn that a similar action or proceeding has been filed or is pending, we undertake to report such fact within five (5) days therefrom to the court or agency in which the original pleading and sworn certification have been filed.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, we have set our hands this 23rd day of February 2009 at Quezon City, Metro Manila.

FERNANDO HICAP PEDRO GONZALES
TIN/ID No._______________ TIN/ID No. _________________
CHERRY CLEMENTE JIMBOY FRANCISCO
TIN/ID No._______________ TIN/ID No. _________________

LUZAINE MILABO ROGELIO CANTON
TIN/ID No._______________ TIN/ID No. _________________

RENATO PRIETO EDITO FERNANDEZ
TIN/ID No._______________ TIN/ID No. _________________

EVELYN MARANA SUSAN PAEZ
TIN/ID No._______________ TIN/ID No. _________________

JESUS BAQUIN DONATO VILLAFUERTE
TIN/ID No._______________ TIN/ID No. _________________

ERLINDA QUILAPIO ILUMINADA CABORNAY
TIN/ID No._______________ TIN/ID No. _________________

CHARITO FRANCISCO EDITO FERNANDEZ
TIN/ID No._______________ TIN/ID No. _________________

GONDILINDA FERNANDEZ REYNALDO SALAC
TIN/ID No._______________ TIN/ID No. _________________

NENITA LAGARAN SARAH CARNAJE
TIN/ID No._______________ TIN/ID No. _________________

RODOLFO TORRES MICHELLE GAYO
TIN/ID No. ______________ TIN/ID No.

SUBSCRIBED AND SWORN to before me this 23rd day of February 2009, affiants personally known to me and exhibited their Taxpayer’s Identification No./Identification No. indicated below their names and signature.

Doc. No. ____;
Page No. ____; NOTARY PUBLIC
Book No. ____;
Series of 2009

AFFIDAVIT OF SERVICE

I, ATTY. JOBERT I. PAHILGA, of legal age, Filipino, married and with office address at Sentro para sa Tunay na Repormnag Agraryo (SENTRA) after having been duly sworn to in accordance with law hereby depose and state that:

1. On February 23, 2009, I have cause the service of the foregoing motion and the attached memorandum to the above-named counsel for the respondent by registered mail with return card by depositing the same at the Quezon City Post Office with the following particulars:

OFFICE OF THE SOLICITOR GENERAL
134 Amorosolo St., Legaspi Village
Makati City
Registry Receipt No. _____________

ATTY. ANTONIO OPOSA
6-J Westgate Tower, Investment Drive
1780 Alabang, Muntinlupa City

SUBSCRIBED AND SWORN to before me this 23rd day of February 2009, affiants personally known to me and exhibited their Taxpayer’s Identification No./Identification No. indicated below their names and signature.

Doc. No. ____;
Page No. ____; NOTARY PUBLIC
Book No. ____;
Series of 2009

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