The left-leaning fisherfolk alliance Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (Pamalakaya) on Thursday urged Senator Ramon “Bong” Revilla Jr. to stop telling the people of Cavite of Kaps’ Amazing stories adding that the people affected by his father’s pet project—the P 4.3 billion 7-km road R-1 Expressway Extension Project should not be designated as subjects and objects of tall tale story telling.
Members of the Pamalakaya affiliated Samahang Magdaragat ng Bacoor, Cavite (SMBC) informed the group’s national headquarters in Quezon City that Senator Revilla went to Barangay Sineguelasan last week and promised to provide fisherfolk and urban poor residents with modest houses if the government proceeds with the demolition of their homes along the coastal shores of Bacoor to pave way for the national road project.
According to SMBC’s report to Pamalakaya, Senator Revilla told residents of Barangay Sineguelasan that his office will coordinate with the non-government organization group Gawad Kalinga in constructing a tenement type townhouse for the soon-to-be displaced fisherfolk and urban poor residents in Bacoor, Cavite.
“Senator Revilla is not responding to the main issues raised by the affected sectors. He is reducing the issue to mere charity concern with the touch of feel-good and tweetum acting. But this is real life, and really life-threatening compared to episodes of Kaps Amazing stories,” said Pamalakaya national chair Fernando Hicap, referring to Revilla’s weekly show in GMA-7.
“If Senator Revilla will not address this issue in accordance with the public interest, an electoral defeat in 2010 is highly predictable. The people will not give him another chance at the electoral box-office,” the Pamalakaya leader said.
Yesterday, 16 fisherfolk braved the murky waters of Manila Bay and staged a daring 10-kilometer swim protest from Bacoor, Cavite to the Philippine Senate to protest the construction of 7-kilometer R-1 Expressway Extension Project.
The 16 swimming fisherfolk activists started their swim protest in Barangay Maliksi 3, in Bacoor, one of the affected coastal villages by the ongoing reclamation and construction of the controversial road project of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo through the Philippine Reclamation Authority chaired by former Senator Ramon Revilla Sr.
Pamalakaya said the 10-kilometer swim protest across the Manila Bay Channel is a tune up for more daring and highly agitating “class action” in the near future. “This is just the beginning of more aggressive actions against another road to perdition project of President Arroyo and her partners in crime in and out of Malacañang,” the group said.
Pamalakaya said the Senate committee on environment, chaired by Senator Jamby Madrigal should look into the alleged involvement of PRA chair Revilla Sr., his sons– Senator Ramon “Bong” Revilla Jr, chair of the Senate Committee on Public Works and Highways and Bacoor Mayor Strike Revilla in controversial P 4.3 billion R-1 Expressway Extension Project.
“The old Revilla is the current chair of PRA, the main player in the phase 2 of the Cavite Coastal Road project, his son Strike is the mayor of Cavite, the starting point of the 7-kilometer expressway project and Bong Revilla is the current chair of the Senate Committee on public works and highways. Is this a coincidence? We don’t think so,” the group said.
Aside from Revillas, Hicap said Sen. Madrigal should also subpoena Executive Secretary Eduardo Ermita to represent the Office of the President, DENR Secretary Joselito Atienza, DPWH Secretary Hermogenes Ebdane Jr, Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Reforms (BFAR) Director Malcolm Sarmiento, MMDA chairman Bayani Fernando, health secretary Francisco Duque III, Cavite Gov. Ayong Maliksi, the mayors of Kawit, Binakayan, Noveleta, Rosario and Cavite City and officials of the construction firm UEM-Mara Philippine Corporation.
“If Mrs. Arroyo holds the key on the controversial and extremely detestable R-1 Expressway Extension Projects, her officials from the national levels down to the local levels of governance hold duplicate keys, and therefore partners in crimes of the ruling gangland in Malacañang,” said Pamalakaya.
The Pamalakaya leader recalled that on June 21, 2007, President Gloria Macapagal-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. Hicap said the Sangley Point project was Mrs. Arroyo’s birthday gift to the old Revilla.
Pamalakaya said national and local government officials are using, abusing and misinterpreting the December 18 2008 Supreme Court ruling on Manila Bay clean up to effectively eliminate the livelihood of small fisherfolk and uproot the villagers from their coastal communities to pave way for reclamation and other government projects.
Pamalakaya said the R-1 extension project resulted to diminished fish catch and destruction of remaining corals and mangroves in Bacoor Bay. The same Cavite road project is also being blamed for the flooding in Bacoor and nearby coastal towns in the province. #