Monthly Archives: March 2009

Fishers group says RP importing same fish it produce

Fishers group says RP importing same fish it produce

“Imagine, the Philippine government is importing tuna from foreign sources although the same fishery product is abundant in our country. There’s no sound and rational reason why we should get tuna from sources abroad.”

This was the reaction of the militant fisherfolk alliance Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (Pamalakaya) upon learning that the government imported a total of 44, 362,242 kilograms of chilled tuna from 18 countries in 2007, valued at $ 78,412,179 or
P 2,307,204,979 total worth of tuna imports in 2007.

Pamalakaya national chair Fernando Hicap said in 2007, the government imported 17,747,909 kilograms of imported tuna from Papua New Guinea ($ 20,967,038), 15,957, 376 kilograms of tuna from Taiwan ($ 18,128,881), 6,849,473 kilograms from Japan ($6,472, 299) and 1,529,665 kilograms from South Korea ($1,572,430).

“The Manila government should stop importing these fishery products because it is tantamount to anarchic importation and economic destruction of the backward fishing industry in the country,” he said.

The Pamalakaya leader added: “It means perpetual loss of livelihood to and displacement and round-the-clock beating of local fish producers in the country whose local fishing businesses are effectively edged out by the avalanche of cheap fish imports in the local market courtesy of imperialist globalization and neo-liberalization.”

Hicap said the export oriented, import dependent character, orientation and direction of the local fisheries sector which is further compounded and complicated by neo-liberal globalization policies of the government should be blamed for mass flooding of cheap fish imports all over the country.

According to Hicap, the Philippine government also imported mackerel fish products from abroad, despite the fact that the country is one of the leading fish producing mackerel products in Southeast Asian region.

Based on the document obtained by Pamalakaya, Hicap said the country imported 41,575,313 kilograms of mackerel from China valued at $ 14,976,745 or P 700,013,061. The government also sourced 17,545,791 kilograms of imported mackerel from Japan ( $9,537,064), 3,283,570 kilograms of mackerel from Taiwan ($ 1,298,892), 2,547,522 kilograms from South Korea
($ 980,567) 779,810 kilograms from the United States ($338,563) and 303,380 kilograms from Pakistan ($ 108,253).

The same document revealed that although the country is also a leading producer of milkfish, the government also imports milkfish from different countries for domestic consumption. In 2007, the government imported 382,527 kilograms of milkfish from Indonesia valued at $ 1,496,783 and 5,238 kilograms of milkfish from the United States worth $ 12,224.

The Pamalakaya leader said in 2007, the Philippine government imported 54,473,096 kilograms of assorted fish from China amounting to $ 24,059,179 or P 1.124 B in 2007. The country also imported 17,747,909 kilograms of fish from Papua New Guinea worth $ 20,967,038, 20,558,278 kilograms of assorted fish from Taiwan worth $ 20,039,596, 25,160,896 kilograms of assorted fish products from Japan amounting to $ 16,743,084.

Also in the same year, the Macapagal-Arroyo government imported 12,425,138 kilograms of different fish products from Indonesia worth $ 11,374,372, 17,239,681 kilograms of various fish products from South Korea ($ 8,019,431), 9,499,310 kilograms of assorted fish from the United States amounting to $ 7,768,495, 9,093,385 kilograms of fish from Peru ($ 7,547,401) and 8,962 kilograms of fish species from Thailand worth $ 6,722, 412.

Pamalakaya said the country is also importing assorted fishery products from Denmark, Chile, Vietnam, Norway, Brazil, Hong Kong, Argentina, Singapore, Switzerland, Australia and France.

On the other hand the fishers group said the country’s best fishery products like tuna, seaweeds, shrimp, prawns, crabs, lapu-lapu and lobsters do not end in the tables of ordinary Filipinos but are exported to rich countries.

Pamalakaya said in 2007, the country’s best fishery products are sent to the United States (40,128,636 kilograms/$155,087,088), Japan (12,914,167 kilograms/$ 71, 172,552), Germany (14,623,742 kilograms/$40,940,476) and Hong Kong (12,875,101/$ 40,318,890).

The country’s best fishery products are also exported to Thailand, France, Singapore, Spain, Taiwan, China, Italy, Denmark, Israel, Belgium, The Netherlands, Saudi Arabia and Australia. #

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Militant fishers set Bicol wide “fluvial protest” against Obama’s push for VFA

Militant fishers set Bicol wide “fluvial protest” against Obama’s push for VFA

Calling US President Barack Obama the biggest disappointment of the 21st century, leftwing activists belonging to the left-leaning fisherfolk alliance Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (Pamalakaya) and its regional affiliate Lakas ng Mangingisda ng Bicol (Lambat-Bicol) will hold a Bicol wide fluvial protest against the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA) and the upcoming RP-US joint military exercises in the region.

Lambat-chairperson and Pamalakaya vice chair for Luzon Salvador France said their groups were disappointed with Obama’s call to President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo urging her to keep the defense pact intact and praising the government’s efforts on counter terrorism.

To express their outrage against Obama’s push for VFA and Balikatan exercises in the country, Pamalakaya and Lambat-Bicol together with anti-Balikatan groups Ban Balikatan and Bagong Alyansang Makabayan-Bicol chapter will stage a fluvial protest tomorrow.

The Lambat-Bicol and Pamalakaya leader said 30 fishing boats will assemble in San Roque, Albay at around 8:00 a.m and will sail towards Legaspi City pier by 9:00 a.m. France said the fluvial protesters are expected to reach the city’s main port by 10:00 a.m where they will hold a one-hour protest against VFA and Balikatan.

France also said the fisherfolk protesters and other activists who will participate in the anti-VFA and anti-Balikatan protest will burn US flags to dramatize their protest against what they called Obama-directed US military intervention and war of aggression in the country.

“This is plain and simple case of same dog, new collar syndrome. Mr. Obama is the new George W. Bush of Washington D.C and his color is now changing from black to bloody red by endorsing the VFA and the Balikatan exercises yearly stage under the tutelage of this one-sided and anti-Filipino defense pact between the US and the Philippines,” said Pamalakaya.

Pamalakaya and Lambat-Bicol said fluvial protests will also be held in Sorsogon and Masbate today. “This region wide Bangkaan laban sa Balikatan exercises (boat-to-boat exercises) will be the Bicolano fisherfolk’s expression of outrage against this undeniable intervention and war of aggression by US military troops under the camouflage of Balikatan exercises,” they said.

For his part, Pamalakaya national chair Fernando Hicap said the fisherfolk will take this opportunity to tell the people of Bicol, of the Philippines and of the entire universe, that the RP-US joint military exercises are nothing but pure US militarism and acts of intervention and aggression.

Hicap asserted the RP-US Balikatan exercises were not only meant to gain future access to guerilla fronts maintained by the CPP and the NPA. The joint military training exercises will also cover intelligence and military operations against militant groups in the region, which the AFP and the US State Department labeled as front organizations of the CPP in the Bicol region.

“The sinister agenda of Balikatan exercises include intelligence work on various people’s organizations, their leaders and mass members highly critical of US military and economic interests in the Philippines, and who are very vocal against state militarization and foreign intervention,” he said. #

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Bishops told: CARP extension a wrong Gospel for social justice

Bishops told: CARP extension a wrong Gospel for social justice

The fisherfolk alliance Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (Pamalakaya) on Thursday warned Roman Catholic bishops that their support to the extension of Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP) could be a wrong Gospel for social justice that they would soon regret as church leaders.

“For 20 years CARP was at the epicenter of the government’s land reform program, which resulted to widespread denial of peasant land rights and across-the-country agrarian reform reversals. Extending this bogus, anti-farmer and pro-landlord land reform escapade is like prolonging the agony of millions of landless peasants,” the group said in a press statement.

Pamalakaya issued the statement a day after the influential Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines announced that it would have a dialogue with the senators on March 16 to work out for the passage of CARP extension with reforms.

“Twenty years of fake land reform program is enough. The Catholic bishops should have learned their lessons well about the inutility and bankruptcy of CARP. For two decades, this land reform program peppered with loopholes and fatal flaws further entrenched landlord power and landlordism in the countryside, and any move to extend and breed the same kind of banana is nothing but a defeatist move and extreme retrogression,” said Pamalakaya national chair Fernando Hicap.

The Pamalakaya leader said his group and staunch allies Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP), the agricultural labor group Unyon ng Mga Manggagawa sa Agrikultura (UMA) and the peasant women federation Amihan are not supporting the proposed CARP extension with reform bills currently filed in the House of Representatives and the Philippine Senate.

Instead the fisherfolk group and its allies are throwing their support to the controversial House Bill 3059 or the Genuine Agrarian Reform Bill (GARB) authored by the late Anakpawis party list Rep. Crispin Beltran and co-authored by Anakpawis Rep. Rafael Mariano, Bayan Muna party list Reps. Satur Ocampo and Teodoro Casiño and Gabriela party list lawmakers Liza Maza and Luzviminda Ilagan.

Pamalakaya’s Hicap asserted that GARB is the real social justice piece of legislation compared to the bankrupt CARP extension with reform bills pending in both houses of Congress.

Hicap said the meat of GARB is free land distribution, unlike in CARP extension with reform bills, the farmers will still be subjected to payment of monthly amortization, that in case they failed to pay their outstanding debts or obligations to the government, the awarded lands will be reverted back to the government, or to landlord or to any private entities interested in acquiring the land.

“In CARP extension with reforms, farmers will still be subjected to rigorous payment of lands awarded to them and would continue essaying their feudal roles as CARP beneficiary paying clients of the present landlord which is the government,” the Pamalakaya leader said.

Pamalakaya said an example would be the 153-hectare Hacienda Bacan in Negros Occidental currently owned by the Arroyos. Under the CARP extension with reform (CARPer), if even the lands are awarded to farmers, the beneficiaries will continue to pay monthly amortization, and in case they failed their obligations, the lands would be reverted back to the state, which has the right to sell the lands back to the Arroyos or to any private interest.

“Is that land reform? No it is not. That is real estate business,” the group said.

Pamalakaya said under GARB or House Bill 3059, the 153-hectares of the Arroyos will be classified as sullied lands, meaning lands acquired through dubious, corrupt and forcible means, and therefore would be subjected to outright coverage, compulsory acquisition without compensation to the Arroyos and free distribution to landless farmers of Hacienda Bacan.

The militant group also said the one-year indefeasibility period in CARPer was a either a misnomer or an intentional provision to allow big landlords to maneuver. Under CARPer, the titles of lands awarded to the farmer beneficiaries could no longer be questioned once the landlords in dispute failed to challenge the acquirement of lands by the farmers.

“Landlords as proven by history always question the farmers’ insistence of their land rights twenty four hours a day, seven days a week and 360 days a year. This indefeasibility provision of CARPer is meant to allow landlords to stop any kind of land acquisition and distribution,” said Pamalakaya.

But under GARB, the farmers become the rightful person to till, explore and benefit from the land in the name of free land distribution and social justice, and any dispute or question about the land will be the official business of the state and the landlord as parties, totally liberating the farmers from any kind of hassle or problems. #

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Fishers group says baselines law will revive Spratly offshore mining deal with China

Fishers group says baselines law will revive Spratly offshore mining deal with China

President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo’s signing of the Philippine Archipelagic Baselines Law or Republic Act No. 9522 will lead to the revival of the Joint Marine Seismic Undertaking (JMSU), an offshore mining deal between the Philippines and China despite the latter’s against the controversial baselines bill.

In a press statement, the left-leaning fisherfolk alliance Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (Pamalakaya) said RA 9522 will legalize the equally controversial offshore mining agreement between China and the Philippines.

“Mrs. Arroyo and her company of hooligans in and out of Malacañang removed the Kalayaan group of islands from the Philippine territory to facilitate the revival and provide the full blanket authority to JMSU that would allow China to proceed with its biggest offshore mining escapade in Palawan and South China Sea,” the group said.

Pamalakaya national chair Fernando Hicap said the Philippines baselines law which excluded Kalayaan group of islands from our territorial rights and jurisdiction is tantamount to treason to the highest order.

According to Hicap with the signing of baselines law, the Manila government will soon start renegotiating the stalled offshore mining project with China..

The Pamalakaya leader said the China National Offshore Oil Corporation will eventually set up gas pipelines from Palawan and the “regime of islands” to mainland China once the potential reserves of 3.3 trillion cubic meters of gas are confirmed in the ongoing gas exploration. This is the immediate consequence of this baselines bill,” the Pamalakaya leader said.

Pamalakaya said with the baselines law now in effect to be followed with the revival of the RP-China offshore mining deal in Spratly, the setting up of gas pipelines from Palawan to China will be the next big thing to happen since the transfer of gas can only be done through the construction of gas pipelines like in the case of the Malampaya gas pipeline project.

“That’s the next logical chapter of this highly detestable baselines law is China’s setting up of oil exploration empire in South China Sea and the Spratlys where pipelines will be constructed to complete the oil hunt and oil loot, and the Malacañang will just beg for alms in the form of taxes and other duties,” the group added.

Pamalakaya said his group’s fearless forecast in the next three years is that China will establish gas pipelines that would supply the energy sector of China, Malaysia and Singapore and that it would merely engaged in lease contract with the Philippine government for the use of 142,886 square kilometers encompassing Palawan and certain parts of the Spratly Islands being claimed by the Philippines over the last four decades.

Pamalakaya recalled last year the Chinese oil exploration vessel Nan Hai docked at Puerto Princesa City port to refuel after coming from a seismic operation in Southwest Palawan.

“Nam Hai 502 was in Palawan last year not only to conduct seismic operations because it is already confirmed that trillions of cubic meters of natural gas are found in the waters of Palawan and the Kalayaan group of Islands. The best kept secret there is that the Chinese oil explorers are seemingly engaged in mapping operations regarding the setting up of gas pipelines,” the group said.

The Pamalakaya added: “We were not born yesterday not to understand this geographical escapade of Chinese oil explorers. Once they explore, all aspects are considered from identification of gas deposits to how these deposits would be taken off and transferred to the home base of the oil exploration giant and their big-time clients in neighbor countries.” #

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DENR chief asked: “Why contractor was allowed to violate ECC on Cavite coastal road project?

DENR chief asked: “Why contractor was allowed to violate ECC on Cavite coastal road project?

The left-leaning fisherfolk alliance Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (Pamalakaya) on Wednesday asked Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Secretary Joselito Atienza why his office allowed the private company tapped by the Malacañang and the Philippine Reclamation Authority (PRA) to build the 11 kilometer R-1 Expressway Extension Project to violate the environmental compliance certificate (ECC) it issued for the national project.

Pamalakaya national chair Fernando Hicap said the ECC granted by the DENR to R-1 proponent UEM Mara-Philippines Corporation in 2007 clearly stipulated that the 11 kilometer expressway shall be constructed on top of a viaduct to avoid flooding in the low-lying areas of Bacoor, Cavite.

“Secretary Atienza is politically, lawfully and morally obliged to reply in all honesty about this public inquiry. Did his office gave UEM-Mara the go-signal to reduce the ECC into a plain piece of thrash paper and do whatever they wanted to do. There is a big difference between a viaduct and a solid land expressway made possible by all-out reclamation,” added Hicap.

The Pamalakaya leader said in the ECC granted to UEM-Mara Philippines Corporation, the private firm was not allowed to destroy the remaining mangrove areas and reclaim coastal waters for the R-1 Expressway Extension Project.

“Something fishy is going here. The private contractor and the PRA are operating as if Manila Bay and the fishing areas of Cavite is their conjugal republic courtesy of Malacañang,” said Hicap.

At yesterday Senate consultative hearing on the impact of the ongoing demolitions of fish pens and mussel growing structures to the livelihood of small fisherfolk livelihood and marine environment held in Barangay Sineguelasan in Bacoor, Cavite, Pamalakaya obtained a resolution of the municipality of Bacoor urging President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo to temporarily halt the construction of R-1 Expressway Extension Project until the design is modified for the benefit of the people of Bacoor.

The hearing was initiated by Senator Jamby Madrigal, chair of the Senate Committee on Environment and Natural Resources in cooperation with Pamalakaya, the Samahang Magdaragat ng Bacoor, Cavite (SMBC) and local barangay officials of Bacoor was attended by over 1,000 fisherfolk and residents from Barangays Maliksi, Talaba and Sineguelasan.

In the resolution dated October 20, 2008 and signed by Bacoor Mayor Strike Revilla and councilors Rolando Remulla, Hubert Gervacio, Normita Celestino, Avelino de Castro, Miguel Bautista, Bayani de Leon, Catherine Sarino and Gianne Louise Olegario, the local government of Bacoor appealed to President Arroyo to immediately order the temporary cessation of the R-1 Expressway construction, as they urged Malacañang to construct the road project on top of viaduct and not by reclamation involving thousands of reclaimed and to be-reclaimed areas.

In said municipal resolution, Mayor Revilla and other councilors reiterated that the R-1 Expressway Extension project as specifically mentioned in the ECC granted by DENR, shall be constructed on top of a viaduct to avoid flooding in the low areas of Bacoor.

Revilla and the councilors asserted that UEM Mara through its contractor SARGASSO Construction and Development Corporation reclaimed large tracts of land in Bacoor Bay resulting in the economic displacement of hundreds of small-scale fisherfolk.

The Bacoor officials said UEM Mara Philippines has not constructed a viaduct earlier approved by the DENR resulting in the destruction of marine resources in Bacoor Bay and the flooding of various areas in Bacoor, which are not traditionally inundated during rainy season.

Pamalakaya asserted that Cavite Governor Ayong Maliksi, along with environment and natural resources secretary Joselito Atienza, officials of Philippine Reclamation Authority (PRA) and public works and highway secretary Hermogenes Ebdane used and abused the Supreme Court ruling on Manila Bay to effect widespread demolition along the bay to pave way for the reclamation of 1,600 hectares of submerged public properties in Manila Bay.

At the Senate consultative hearing called by Senator Jamby Madrigal, chair of the Senate Committee on the Environment held in Barangay Sineguelasan, Bacoor, Cavite, Pamalakaya asserted that the controversial R-1 Expressway Extension Project being pushed by the national government in cooperation with the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH), the PRA and the Cavite provincial government is contrary to high court ruling thrust to bring the bay back to its pristine state and historical glory.

“The 11-kilometer expressway project is a road to perdition and a highway to destruction. But for President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and her officials, the R-1 undertaking is a multi-billion peso finance campaign worthy of millions of pesos of huge kickbacks in return. And to effectively carry out this P 4.3-billion road project, they are exploiting and prostituting the SC ruling on Manila Bay,” added Pamalakaya. #

The Pamalakaya said the SC decision mandates the national government and concerned government officials and agencies to restore Manila Bay to its clean and productive state. Hicap said the ruling does not mention anything about the right of the state to evict poor fisherfolk and urban poor families from their main source of livelihood and communities.

“We have read and studied the SC decision on Manila Bay. The high tribunal is mandating the government to clean up the bay of wastes, not to clean this fishing ground of fisher people. The fisherfolk are part of the Manila Bay’s ecological life and survival and they are not wastes, nothing more, nothing less,” the group added.

Pamalakaya’s legal counsel Atty. Jobert Pahilga, executive trustee of Sentra Para Sa Tunay na Repormang Agraryo (Sentra) and campaign advocacy officer of the National Union of Peoples’ Lawyers (NUPL) last Feb.23 assisted the group and the affected fishermen belonging to Samahang Magdaragat ng Bacoor, Cavite (SMBC) in filing a motion to intervene before the Supreme Court in the Manila Bay clean up case.

The motion also asked the high tribunal to effectively rule a status quo while the issues raised against the R-1 Expressway Extension Project and the massive demolitions in Manila Bay have still be addressed and resolved by the high court.

Pamalakaya accused President Arroyo, Gov. Maliksi, Atienza, Ebdane and Revilla Sr. of destroying the remaining corals and mangroves of Manila Bay by pushing the R-1 Expressway Extension Project by allowing the reclamation of 7,500 hectares of the submerged public properties along the bay to give way to road construction.

“Reclamation will hasten the death of Manila Bay which is currently under the Intensive Care Unit and in full environmental comatose. That undertaking by design and by orientation, and by law is against the SC decision on Manila Bay,” the militant group said.

Pamalakaya said the R-1 expressway extension project will displace 26,000 fisherfolk families and urban poor residents in the coastal towns of Bacoor, Kawit, Binakayan, Noveleta and Cavite City. Last year, around 1,000 fishing and urban poor families were demolished and relocated to Tanza. The Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) promised to give P 15,000 to each family whose houses were demolished.

The militant group recalled that 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. The Pamalakaya leader said the Sangley Point project was Mrs. Arroyo’s birthday gift to Revilla.

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. #

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Gov’t officials “used and abused” SC ruling on Manila Bay to effect baywide demolition, fishers told Senate hearing

Gov’t officials “used and abused” SC ruling on Manila Bay to effect baywide demolition, fishers told Senate hearing

The left-leaning fisherfolk alliance Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (Pamalakaya) on Tuesday said Cavite Governor Ayong Maliksi, along with environment and natural resources secretary Joselito Atienza, former Senator Ramon Revilla Sr., chair of the Philippine Reclamation Authority (PRA) and public works and highway secretary Hermogenes Ebdane used and abused the Supreme Court ruling on Manila Bay to effect widespread demolition along the bay.

At the Senate consultative hearing called by Senator Jamby Madrigal, chair of the Senate Committee on the Environment held in Barangay Sineguelasan, Bacoor, Cavite, Pamalakaya national chair Fernando Hicap asserted that the controversial R-1 Expressway Extension Project being pushed by the national government in cooperation with the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH), the PRA and the Cavite provincial government is contrary to high court ruling thrust to bring the bay back to its pristine state and historical glory.

“The 11-kilometer expressway project is a road to perdition and a highway to destruction. But for President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and her officials, the R-1 undertaking is a multi-billion peso finance campaign worthy of millions of pesos of huge kickbacks in return. And to effectively carry out this P 4.3-billion road project, they are exploiting and prostituting the SC ruling on Manila Bay,” added Hicap.

The Pamalakaya leader said the SC decision mandates the national government and concerned government officials and agencies to restore Manila Bay to its clean and productive state. Hicap said the ruling does not mention anything about the right of the state to evict poor fisherfolk and urban poor families from their main source of livelihood and communities.

“We have read and studied the SC decision on Manila Bay. The high tribunal is mandating the government to clean up the bay of wastes, not to clean this fishing ground of fisher people. The fisherfolk are part of the Manila Bay’s ecological life and survival and they are not wastes, nothing more, nothing less,” Hicap added.

Pamalakaya’s legal counsel Atty. Jobert Pahilga, executive trustee of Sentra Para Sa Tunay na Repormang Agraryo (Sentra) and campaign advocacy officer of the National Union of Peoples’ Lawyers (NUPL) last Feb.23 assisted the group and the affected fishermen belonging to Samahang Magdaragat ng Bacoor, Cavite (SMBC) in filing a motion to intervene before the Supreme Court in the Manila Bay clean up case.

The motion also asked the high tribunal to effectively rule a status quo while the issues raised against the R-1 Expressway Extension Project and the massive demolitions in Manila Bay have still be addressed and resolved by the high court.

Pamalakaya accused President Arroyo, Gov. Maliksi, Atienza, Ebdane and Revilla Sr. of destroying the remaining corals and mangroves of Manila Bay by pushing the R-1 Expressway Extension Project by allowing the reclamation of 7,500 hectares of the submerged public properties along the bay to give way to road construction.

“Reclamation will hasten the death of Manila Bay which is currently under the Intensive Care Unit and in full environmental comatose. That undertaking by design and by orientation, and by law is against the SC decision on Manila Bay,” the militant group said.

Pamalakaya said the R-1 expressway extension project will displace 26,000 fisherfolk families and urban poor residents in the coastal towns of Bacoor, Kawit, Binakayan, Noveleta and Cavite City. Last year, around 1,000 fishing and urban poor families were demolished and relocated to Tanza. The Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) promised to give P 15,000 to each family whose houses were demolished.

The militant group recalled that 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. The Pamalakaya leader said the Sangley Point project was Mrs. Arroyo’s birthday gift to Revilla.

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.

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Militants asked LLDA chief to step down

Militants asked LLDA chief to step down

The left-leaning fisherfolk alliance Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (Pamalakaya) and the multisectoral group Save Laguna Lake Movement (SLLM) on Tuesday pressed for the resignation of Laguna Lake Development Authority (LLDA) General Manager Edgar Manda for alleged betrayal of national interest and public trust.

Pamalakaya national chair and SLLM national convenor Fernando Hicap asked Manda to step down and called for the abolition of LLDA, a day after the lake authority chief announced that the LLDA enter into a formal contract with Maynilad within 30 to 45 days regarding the conversion of lake waters into potable water.

“Mr. Manda the point person and top moneymaking man of Malacañang and the ruling Arroyo camp in LLDA is guilty of national sell-out and betrayal of the people’s collective interest. One way of stopping this hearts stopping and nerve wracking deal is to compel the LLDA manager to resign and the abolition of this anti-fisherfolk and anti-environment agency,” the outraged Pamalakaya leader said.

The LLDA top official on Monday denied Pamalakaya observation that the 90,000 hectare lake is being privatized with the looming LLDA-Maynilad water deal. Manda said the deal with Maynilad will only cover the Lopez-owned water utility firm’s takeover of the existing facility in Putatan, Muntinlupa to convert lake water into potable water from the existing 186,000 liter capacity to 3 million liter capacity daily.

Maynilad said the water treatment facility will produce 100 million waters of liters everyday to be distributed to consumers in Alabang, Bayanan, Poblacion, Putatan, Tunasan and New Alabang. The contract will also allow Maynilad to service water needs of commercial, industrial and consumers in Las Piñas, Muntinlupa, Parañaque and Bacoor in Cavite.

“Mr. Manda in the name of his benefactors in and out of Malacañang will be committing one of the most serious crimes against humanity and against the environment by signing this unwarranted contract with Maynilad. He should step down now and have the LLDA abolished,” the Pamalakaya leader added.

Pamalakaya and SLLM learned that the office of DENR Secretary Atienza phoned LLDA ON Monday to inform the lake authority that their groups have started making noise against the LLDA-Maynilad water deal. The groups also learned that phone call was made to LLDA to prod the lake agency that it should make a quick response against Pamalakaya’s opposition to the water deal.

“It seems there is a conspiracy between and among Malacañang, the DENR and the LLDA. DENR’s phone call to LLDA suggests that,” said Pamalakaya.

“Mr. Atienza, the no.1 seller and corporate pimp of the Arroyo presidency is hereby warned by public interest against granting an ECC to the LLDA-Maynilad joint water adventure in Laguna Lake. This government must be stopped from making sweepstakes like money, super profits and huge kickbacks at the expense of the people and the environment,” the fishers group added.

Likewise Pamalakaya and SLMM reiterated their call to Manda to back off from the looming deal with Maynilad despite the fact that although under Republic Act 4850, the LLDA is authorized to issue permits for the use and abstraction of lake water, it is not authorized to perform acts that are deemed to destroy the ecological balance and very nature of Laguna Lake.

“The LLDA is not authorize to sell Laguna Lake and change its orientation and social purpose in the name of corporate interests, accumulation of capital and vested interests of people in and out of Malacañang,” the group said.

Pamalakaya said under the looming LLDA-Maynilad deal, the Lopez owned water utility will extract 300 million liters per day (MLD) from Laguna Lake ,which it said is extremely dangerous to the lake environment. The group said the proposal will entail the closure of Napindan Hydraulic control system, preventing the entry of salt water of Manila Bay. He said fish species in Laguna Lake requires the mixing of salt and fresh water to spawn and survive.

The fisherfolk group said the Maynilad plan is like a death certificate to Laguna Lake killing not only the livelihood of more than 500,000 people engage in fish capture and fish culture activities. Pamalakaya said it will also endanger the fish supply and the fish need of millions of people in the National Capital Region, Laguna and Rizal provinces.

Pamalakaya and SLLM said despite of the present sorry state of Laguna Lake as Southeast Asia’s second largest lake, it is capable of producing at least 50,000 metric tons of fish per year, enough to address the fish requirement of not less than 10 million people. #

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