Monthly Archives: August 2009

Fishers, urban poor have become objects of Manila Bay clean up, not toxic firms, groups lament 

Fishers, urban poor have become objects of Manila Bay clean up, not toxic firms, groups lament

The militant fisherfolk alliance Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (Pamalakaya) and the party list group Anakpawis on Thursday lamented that small fisherfolk and urban poor residents are set as primary targets of Manila Bay clean up and not industrial and commercial firms who throw toxic and other solid and water wastes into the highly degraded bay.

“In vain attempt to salvage the capital and operations of government business clients along Manila Bay, Malacañang and its government agencies focus their campaign on Manila Bay clean up against fishermen and bay people dismissing this sea of humanity as illegal structures, garbage and toxic producing entities. This is totally unacceptable,” Pamalakaya and Anakpawis said in a joint press statement.

Both groups who led Bacoor fishermen and urban residents in filing a petition last Feb.23 asking the Supreme Court to stop the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) and other government agencies from pursuing the demolition of fishpens and houses, stressing that the government is abusing and exploiting the high court ruling to effectively drive them away from their main source of livelihood and fishing villages.

“Malacañang wants us to give up our fishing and housing rights because foreign investors want to reclaim and construct business empires along Manila Bay. They are banking on the SC ruling on Manila Bay clean up to facilitate and fast-track the mass murder of livelihood and fishing communities along the bay,” said Pamalakaya national chair Fernando Hicap.

To expound his statement, the Pamalakaya leader said last Tuesday, Cavite Gov. Ayong Maliksi issued a provincial order calling on fisherfolk and urban poor residents in Barangay Sineguelasan to vacate the barangay within 15 days to allow government authorities to dismantle illegal structures in Bacoor in response to the SC ruling on Manila Bay.

“What illegal structures Gov. Maliksi is talking about? There are no illegal structures there. What is there are the houses of poor fishermen and residents trying to make a living despite poor catch due to the onslaught of massive reclamation and construction of R-1 Expressway Extension Project. The solid road which is originally a viaduct project is the illegal structure that should be eliminated in that fishing village”, said Hicap.

He said copies of Maliksi’s order were sent to the Office of Bacoor Mayor Strike Revilla and to the barangay captain of Barangay Sineguelasan on Tuesday morning.

Anakpawis secretary general Cherry Clemente lamented that Governor Maliksi is supposed to carry out a people oriented rehabilitation program based on the Supreme Court ruling on Manila Bay clean up.

“But the governor’s order is not meant to clean up the bay of toxics and environmental troubles caused by foreign funded projects and colonies of industrial and commercial establishments. His order is to clean up the bay of small fisherfolk and urban poor people to pave way for foreign funded government projects,” she said.

“The Governor of Cavite, who is one of the proponents of the R-1 Expressway Extension Project that involves the reclamation of 7,000 hectares of coastal areas in Bacoor and nearby municipalities exploited the Supreme Court ruling to facilitate the displacement of not less than 26,000 fishing and urban poor families from their main source of livelihood and communities,” she said.

Clemente maintained that the reclamation projects, along with polluting factories and commercial establishments are the main sources of pollution and main perpetrators that led to the sorry state of Manila Bay, and not the fisherfolk and the urban poor dwellers residing along the coastal shores of the bay.

The Anakpawis leader said her group will join Pamalakaya and other fisherfolk petitioners in filing a manifestation and urgent motion for the issuance of writ of preliminary injunction and/or temporary restraining order.

“This manifestation is meant to inform the SC that MMDA (Metro Manila Development Authority) failed to comply with the order dated March 3, 2009 to comment on our motion in-intervention and memorandum,” she said.

“The order of Gov. Maliksi shall be challenged not only in the Supreme Court, but also in the parliament of the streets, in the environmental sala of the people and in the court of public opinion. To set the record straight, Malacañang and their business partners and Gov. Maliksi should realize that Manila Bay will not exist or regain its proud and historic past without the fisherfolk and the bay people,” Anakpawis added.

Clemente said the motion will ask the high tribunal for preliminary injunction and/or temporary restraining order to enjoin and prohibit the respondents to implement the demand to vacate and/or the ongoing and future demolition of the houses of the small fisherfolk and the destruction of their fish cages, fish pens, and other sources of livelihood.

The Anakpawis official said the motion will be filed anytime this week or early next week to stop Gov. Maliksi from pursuing the demolition order in Barangay Seneguelasan, one of the affected coastal barangays in Bacoor, Cavite. #

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Fishers group sees evil in Albay casino plan

Fishers group sees evil in Albay casino plan

The Lakas ng mga Maliliit na Mangingisda ng Bicol (Lambat-Bicol), the regional chapter of the left-leaning fisherfolk alliance Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (Pamalakaya) on Wednesday said they see evil in the plan of Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp. to put up a casino inside the P 1-billion commercial complex sitting on a 2.6 hectare reclaimed area in Legaspi City.

“The commercial complex is just a front literally and figuratively speaking. The giant complex is constructed to promote the culture and life of gambling and host gambling folks who want to be millionaires. We see all-time evil in this plan of the national government,” said Lambat-Bicol chairperson Salvador France in a press statement.

The complex designed by Australian engineers and patterned after the Fisherman’s Wharf in San Francisco, California, USA will host other amenities such as a lifestyle mall and will house an 8,000 seat call center at its Information Technology Park.

But France, also the vice-chairperson for Luzon of Pamalakaya, said the construction of the commercial complex popularly known as Embarcadero de Legaspi in Legaspi City was constructed at the expense of the small fisherfolk and the environment.

According to France, more than 20 hectares of mangrove areas were destroyed and around 100 families of small fisherfolk were uprooted from their fishing village to give way for the reclamation of 2.6 coastal shores where Embarcadero de Legaspi is located.

“Imagine, the state-run gambling corporation compelled people to leave their fishing community and facilitated the massacre of 20 plus hectares of mangrove areas just to install this gambling center at the heart of Albay’s capital,” the Lambat-Bicol leader said.

Pamalakaya national chair Fernando Hicap, who is also a fulltime fisherman in Albay and Sorsogon provinces said the government plan to put up a casino inside Embarcadero de Legaspi would be a major electoral issue, adding those who would support its construction will face rejection in the 2010 elections.

“The pro-Casino politicians in Albay will suffer electoral defeat in the May 2010 elections if they insist this diabolical project. This is a regional issue that will decide the outcome of next year’s elections at the provincial and district levels,” said Hicap.

To illustrate the impacts of casinos on public, Pamalakaya cited the report made by U.S. Senator Paul Simon to the U.S. Senate Committee investigating the effects of casinos on the American public. Quoting Simon’s report in the U.S. Senate in the early 1990s, the group said, “Costs to society of the problem gambler vary from the most conservative estimate of US$13,200 to US$30,000 per year.”

According to a study cited in the senator report, “Overall, the state gains US$326 million in net revenue from the presence of the casinos.

However, this figure is reduced substantially — to US$166.25 million — when even the lowest estimated social costs of compulsive gambling are included in the calculations. With mid-range estimated social costs, the overall impact becomes negligible, while with higher social-cost estimates, the impact becomes clearly negative.”

Pamalakaya further stressed the presence of casinos would attract more people to gamble as in the case of Illinois: “The Simon report points out that nationally, less than 1 percent or 0.77 percent of the population are compulsive gamblers, but when enterprises are located near a population, that number increases two to seven times.”

Pamalakaya likewise cited the findings of Donald Trump, a Miami-based financial analyst on casino about the impact of high cost gambling. Citing Trump’s report, the group said promoters of the casino often stress the benefits of introducing casino operations.

Pamalakaya said: “People will spend a tremendous amount of money in casinos, money that they would normally spend on buying a refrigerator or a new car. Local businesses will suffer because they’ll lose customer dollars to the casinos.”

According to “Legalized Gambling as a Strategy for Economic Development” authored by Vernon George, an economic consultant for the casino industry, who also provides feasibility studies for communities contemplating riverboat gambling, private developers usually exaggerate public benefits in order to make their proposals more attractive.

Pamalakaya also cited the testimony delivered by prosecuting attorney Jeffrey Bloomberg of Lawrence County, South Dakota, during a U.S. House committee hearing on his experiences dealing with Deadwood, a small community in South Dakota that became the first place outside of Atlantic City and Nevada to legalize casino gambling.

Bloomberg said host communities were promised with “economic development, new jobs and lower taxes.” Instead, casinos flourished, but other businesses did not. Based on Bloomberg’s own account, businesses that provide the basic necessities of life such as clothing are no longer available and customers of the town’s only remaining grocery store walk past a gauntlet of slot machines as they exit with their purchases. #

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Critics asked: Are US troops allowed to conduct census under VFA? 

Critics asked: Are US troops allowed to conduct census under VFA?

Are the visiting American troops joining the yearly Balikatan exercises under the Visiting Forces Agreement allowed to conduct census in remote farming and fishing villages across the country?

The left-leaning fisherfolk alliance Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (Pamalakaya) said their members in Bicol region where one of the joint RP-US military exercises was held this year saw US troops joining their local counterparts in conducting census activities which they said were part of the surveillance operations conducted by the Armed Forces of the Philippines against the New People’s Army in the region.

“As far as we are concerned US troops are strictly prohibited from conducting census and military surveillance according to the 1987 Constitution because its violates the sovereign rights of the Filipino people and by nature, by design and by purpose the census participated by US troops is US military intervention,” said Pamalakaya national chair Fernando Hicap said in a press statement.

The Pamalakaya leader posed this legal and constitutional question a day after retired Navy Lt. Nancy Gadian revealed that US soldiers are embedded with Filipino troops in combat situations in Mindanao, and that the United States had taken part in the “planning of combat operations against terrorist and Moro targets in Mindanao.

“Why they are allowed to join government census? It is not the job of American mercenaries to conduct census and surveillance unless they are really planning something big like directing and joining actual combat operations against state targets. It is not even the job of AFP regular forces to conduct census since it is the job of civilian authorities,” said Hicap.

According to a report sent by Lakas ng Mangingisda ng Bicol (Lambat-Bicol), the regional chapter of Pamalakaya last February, it revealed that US military personnel were seen conducting initial surveillance operations ahead of the Balikatan exercises scheduled from April to September eliciting fear and confusion among fishermen, farmers and the rural people.

In the same report, small fishermen started seeing US personnel joining the military census activities in Barangay Mayngaran in Masbate City, Barangay Bagacay, Marintuk, Lalaguna and Balatukan in Mobo town, barangays Marcilla, Dapdap, Panisihan, Buenvista, Armenia, Sawang, Buenasuerte and Magsaysay in Uson town, and in the municipality of Cataingan proper all in Masbate.

Lambat-Bicol also noted the disturbing presence of US troops in Oas town, Albay, particularly in the farming villages of San Pascual, San Miguel and Talisay, where the 5th engineering battalion of the Philippine Army is currently detailed. A number of US troops were also seen in Barangay Liyang, municipality of Irosin in Sorsogon province, ahead of the scheduled RP-US joint military exercises last March.

Pamalakaya said the survey of communities was followed by the announcement of Mr. Celso del Socorro, Officer-in-charge of Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Reforms (BFAR-V) about its plan to impose a region-wide fish ban in Bicol once the Balikatan exercises start in April 2009.

The fish ban according to Pamalakaya national chair Fernando Hicap was announced, because the war games will make use of the interconnecting bodies of water in Bicol region namely the Ragay Gulf, Albay Gulf and Sorsogon Bay that join the provinces of Camarines Sur, Camarines Norte, Albay, Sorsogon and Masbate for the loading and unloading of 3,000 US troops and personnel who will participate in the Balikatan exercises.

To show proof that a Balikatan-induced fish ban was implemented, a fish ban in the form of curfew in three coastal towns— Tiwi, Tabacco and Malilipot, all in Albay province were executed last Feb. affecting the fish capture activities of not less than 10,000 small fisherfolk.

The curfew ordinance in Tiwi, Tabaco and Malilipot was effectively utilized to effect a fish ban ahead and during the Balikatan exercises. The three coastal areas in Albay are being used as pilot areas for the Bicol wide fish ban in the name of the RP-US Balikatan exercises and the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA) last march.

Reports that reached the national secretariat office of Pamalakaya said the local government units and barangay officials in mentioned coastal towns in Albay have started implementing a 9-hour fish curfew and fish ban from 8:00 pm to 5:00 am beginning February 23 until the Balikatan exercises officially ended sometime in April. #

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Fishers group slams DENR plan to ask Japanese aid to save Manila Bay

FINACIAL BARBARISM
Fishers group slams DENR plan to ask Japanese aid to save Manila Bay

Dismissing the idea as “grandslam money making scheme cloaked on environmental concern, the activist fisherfolk alliance Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (Pamalakaya) on Saturday assailed the proposal of Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Secretary Joselito Atienza to borrow P 3.8 billion from the Japanese government to finance the sewerage and septage management project involving the rehabilitation of Manila Bay.

“Something must be done to stop this financial barbarism of Secretary Atienza. We cannot save Manila Bay by borrowing loans from other countries and allowing left-and-right corporate takeovers and plunders of Manila Bay. The proposal of the self-proclaimed environmental czar to borrow fresh loans from Japan is a super stupid act,” said Pamalakaya national chair Fernando Hicap in a press statement.

The Pamalakaya leader said the best way to stop the environmental death of Manila Bay is to stop all foreign funded government projects in Manila Bay like the controversial reclamation of some 7,000 hectares foreshore land areas in Cavite to give way to the R-1 Expressway Extension Project and the reclamation of another 5,000 hectares of shallow coastal waters to expand Sangley Point Naval Base to make it one of the biggest international seaports in Southeast Asia.

“The P 3.8 billion loan which the Philippine government will ask from the Japanese government is part of the long-running fund raising campaign hatched by Malacañang. It is public knowledge that DENR wants a whopping P 100 billion fund for their bogus Save Manila Bay campaign,” said Hicap.

In DENR’s compliance report to the Supreme Court, Secretary Atienza announced that the government is eyeing the help of the Japanese government to finance the sewerage and septage management because the Local Water Utilities Administration (LWUA) is having difficulty in pushing through its task of installing, operating and maintaining sewerage and sanitation facilities and efficient and safe collection, treatment and disposal of sewerage in Laguna, Cavite, Bulacan, Pampanga and Bataan due to lack of funds.

The compliance report is part of the Supreme Court order to the concerned government agencies to keep the judiciary informed on the Manila Bay clean up pursuant to the February ruling asking government departments to save the “slowly dying” Manila Bay which the high tribunal described as “a place with proud historic past”.

Secretary Atienza said officials of LWUA will submit their proposal to the Japanese government to seek grant funds, but the rest of the funding he said was still uncertain because the water agency has fully reached the limits of its equity and debt ceilings and this could no longer absorb additional financial burdens.

Atienza said Congress promised to increase LWUA’s debt and equity ceilings and they would have to wait until this was passed by the legislative branch.

On February 23 Pamalakaya questioned before the high tribunal Secretary Atienza’s aggressive use of a Supreme Court ruling on Manila Bay clean up, asserting that the environment secretary has been abusing and illegally using the SC decision to effectively carry out massive demolition of fishpens and communities in Bacoor, Cavite and other parts of the National Capital Region.

The group said the DENR secretary wants to demolish fishermen from their main source of livelihood and communities by demolishing their fishpens and by evicting them from their communities to facilitate the entry of big projects funded by foreign investors.

Pamalakaya said 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 the group said, is colonized by big and small polluting factories.

“The government is blaming over fishing as a major factor in the degradation of Manila Bay. That is a flimsy and ridiculous excuse. 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 is the principal reason why Manila Bay is under the Intensive Care Unit, and suffering from environmental comatose,” Pamalakaya said.

The militant group said no less than 20,000 hectares of Manila Bay have been subjected to reclamation to pave way for the construction of special economic zones in Bataan and Cavite, the commercial spaces presently occupied by 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.

Pamalakaya said the government intends to reclaim areas in Pasay City for the setting up of
$ 15-B Casino Project in Pasay City, and it is also inclined to reclaim another 8,000 hectares of foreshore areas in Cavite for the coastal road project from Bacoor to Sangley Point in Cavite City. The coastal project alone will evict 26,000 small fishermen and urban poor from their main source of livelihood and communities. #

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Manila talking peace while terrorizing people 

THE PAMALAKAYA TIMES EDITORIAL
Manila talking peace while terrorizing people

The resumption of the stalled peace talks between the Government of the Republic of the Philippines and the National Democratic Front of the Philippines will kick off in the last week of August, a development welcomed by peace advocates all over the Philippines.

However, peace advocates at the same time are worried because while the Manila government is talking peace, its armed forces are on a rampage displacing thousands of civilians in the countryside.

A report from the National Solidarity Mission to the Lumad Evacuees in Surigao del Sur revealed that since June 18, 2009, some 303 Manobo families with 1,795 individuals fled their mountain communities in the municipalities of Lianga, San Agustin and Tago in Surigao del Sur after the deployment of troops from different units under the 401st Infantry Brigade.

According to the human rights watchdog Karapatan in Caraga Region, the deployment of thousands of troops was aimed at promoting peace and development in the communist influenced areas, so to implement their community projects, specifically literacy projects in 15 indigenous farming communities.

But the group said the literacy projects of the Armed Forces of the Philippines were ironic. The human rights group said these Manobo peasant communities already have schools that were established with the help of the Tribal Filipino Program in the province and the Alternative Learning Center for Agricultural and Livelihood Development, two non-government organizations that were branded by the National Security Council of Malacañang as fronts of communist guerillas and the Communist Party of the Philippines.

Reports reaching regional and provincial media outlets said military checkpoints have been set up that limited the amount of food that could be brought into the communities. Worse, the schools of tribal children were surrounded 24 hours a day and seven times a week by the military prompting the children to quit school for fear of military harassment.

The mission also said government troops in full-battle gear have encamped the homes of tribal people and they maintained detachments and war posts within the range of fire of civilian communities, a situation which local government agencies and authorities refused to address for fear of military reprisal.

Karapatan-Caraga region chapter said negotiations for the immediate return of the evacuees to their homes were facilitated by Surigao del Sur Governor Vicente Pimentel and witnessed by the forthcoming president of the influential Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines and Tandag Diocese Bishop Nereo Odchimar. But these negotiations remain bleak because the military refused to pull out from the tribal peasant communities.

The deployment of government troops in battalion sizes in these tribal farmer communities is not the first time since President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo assumed the presidency in 2001. In 2005 and 2007, the military launched an occupation campaign where their operations resulted in the death of an indigenous farmer and the enforced disappearance of four other tribal farmers.

During the same years, cases of physical and psychological torture were committed against members of the 15 Lumad peasant communities, and other cases of human rights violations such as destruction and disruption of their livelihood, cessation of classes because of the use of the schools as military barracks that created fear and insecurity among their children.

The Manila government clearly violated a lot of international instruments in the conduct of just and humane war as enshrined in the United Nations’ Declaration of Human Rights and other protocols serving as guides in the conduct of civil war.

President Arroyo and the AFP also summarily violated its agreement with the NDFP, which is the Comprehensive Agreement on Respect for Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law that prohibits the military from terrorizing the civilian populace in the course of military operations against the New People’s Army, the political armed group of the CPP.

Terrorizing civilians, whom the military suspects of supporting the NPAs is a national policy of the Manila government and this campaign of unjust war and state terror has been going since time immemorial in vain attempt to crush the raging war for national liberation espoused by the New People’s Army in rural Philippines.

Based on the consolidated report filed by Karapatan from 2001 to 2008, the Manila government under the Arroyo administration forced the evacuation and displacement of 868,096 Filipinos and committed human rights abuses in the form of indiscriminate firing to some 534,717 individuals during the same period.

Since 2001 up to December 2008, the government imposed food blockades victimizing 79,840 people. In the conduct of its counter-insurgency program against the communist guerillas, human rights organizations reported that the use of schools, medical, religious and other public places by the military affected 47,718 people mostly farmers and their children.

Also during the same period, advocates of children’s rights in rural communities revealed that the Manila government violated the rights of 7,749 children all over the country in the course of military operations.

These data on human rights abuses are excluded from the hundreds of cases of extrajudicial killings and enforced disappearances, which according to Karapatan have already victimized 991 and 201 political activists over the last 8 years of the Arroyo administration.

Meanwhile, the NDFP leadership in Mindanao has urged the Manila government and the Philippine military to stop terrorizing the tribal communities. It asserted that peoples’ communities should be spared from any forms or any kinds of state terror and military action in accordance with the UN instruments on human rights and on the conduct of war against armed national liberation movements like the one waged by NPAs.

Very much concerned with the situation of the tribal communities, the NDFP said the Philippine military should be compelled to stop its operations to allow humanitarian assistance groups to conduct immediate relief and rehabilitation works. It said the Arroyo government should pull out its troops to allow evacuees’ safe return to their homes and resume their production in the farms and build their interrupted livelihood affected by the military all-out offensive against the communist guerillas.

People’s associations and non-government organizations working for the rights and welfare of tribal communities should bring the issue before members of the peace panel in Oslo, Norway where the talks will be held. In particular, we suggest these groups to bring their complaints against the Government of the Republic of the Philippines to the NDFP peace panel and copy furnish the Royal Norwegian Government, being the third party facilitator to the peace talks.

Advocates of human rights should castigate and denounce the Manila government and the Philippine military for wantonly violating the rights of the people in the name of its counter-insurgency program and ideology of national security. It is one of the politically correct ways of addressing the humanitarian emergency problem and gross human rights abuses in Surigao del Sur.

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Militants seek CBCP divine intervention on GRP-NDFP peace talks

Militants seek CBCP divine intervention on GRP-NDFP peace talks

One of the groups supporting the resumption of peace talks between the Government of the Republic of the Philippines (GRP) and the communist-led National Democratic Front of the Philippines on Saturday urged the influential Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) to intervene in the resumption of the talks, which is currently imperiled by the failure of the Macapagal-Arroyo government to comply with the Joint Agreement on Safety and Immunity Guarantees (Jasig) that could affect the resumption of the talks.

“We strongly appeal to the 117 archbishops and bishops of the CBCP to support the politically and morally correct position of the NDFP for the GRP to comply with and honor the spirit of the agreement so the stalled peace talks could start anytime between the last week of this month or first week of September,” said Pamalakaya national chair Fernando Hicap.

“We also appeal to the peace advocates to do the same and pressure Malacañang and the Arroyo peace panel so that the NDFP and its consultants can go back to the negotiating panel without being hostage, undermined or kept under duress by the Manila government,” the Pamalakaya leader said.

Hicap reminded the CBCP that the resumption of peace talks is also in the interest of the Filipino people calling for political settlement of the ongoing civil war in the countryside, saying many stakes that represent the aspirations of the people like human rights and economic rights will be discussed at the resumption of the talks.

‘The resumption of the talks is important to the people. It is a venue for them to articulate their day-to-day issues and struggles including but not limited to human rights and economic rights. The NDFP consultants should be freed from any kind of harassment and that fabricated charges against them should be quashed and thrown to the dustbin of history for they are nothing but trumped up charges orchestrated by the militarist regime of President Arroyo,” added Hicap.

“The CBCP’s divine intervention is needed to stop Malacañang from imposing conditions or manufacturing roadblocks to place the talks in peril,” he said.

Pamalakaya said it will also raise different issues to the peace talks once it is resumed like anti-Filipino national agreements like the Japan-Philippines Economic Partnership Agreement (Jpepa) and across-the-nation offshore mining activities in the country which it said destroys the small fisherfolk livelihood and the marine environment.

The militant group will also raise the P 32-billion proposed production subsidy for the small fisherfolk when the two panels starts discussion of the Comprehensive Agreement on Socio Economic Rights or CASER, the second substantive agenda after human rights.

Luis Jalandoni, chair of the NDFP peace panel criticized that since lifting of the government suspension of the Jasig since July 17, it has done nothing to comply in the spirit and intent of the agreement. “Instead, the GRP has further violated the Jasig, generated more impediments and deprived consultants of full immunity and safety guarantees,” he said.

The NDFP peace panel chair noted that alleged rebel leader Randal Echanis was conditionally release for six months which is calculated to turn him into a hostaged consultant under duress of the GRP. He is subject to arrest anytime at the whim of GRP.

Jalandoni also noted two others, Rafael Baylosis and Vicente Ladlad were issued safe conduct passes “whose text incriminates them and makes them accept they are criminal offenders. The two consultants have rejected the “shame passes” he said. #

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Fisherfolk petitioners in

Fisherfolk petitioners in Manila Bay clean up ordered to leave in 15 days

Fisherfolk members of the militant fisherfolk alliance Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (Pamalakaya) and the party list group Anakpawis who petitioned the Supreme Court last February 23 to stop concerned government agencies from demolishing their fishpens and fishing villages in connection with the Manila Bay clean up today assailed the order of Governor Ayong Maliksi giving fishermen and urban poor residents to leave the coastal village within 15 days for the clean up.

Pamalakaya national chair Fernando Hicap said Gov. Maliksi’s “notorious” came a day after President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo told Cabinet officials to comply with the high court ruling to clean up Manila Bay.

He said copies of Maliksi’s order were sent to the Office of Bacoor Mayor Strike Revilla and to the barangay captain of Barangay Sineguelasan on Tuesday morning.

“Governor Maliksi is supposed to stage a people oriented rehabilitation program based on the Supreme Court ruling on Manila Bay clean up. But the governor’s order is not meant to clean up the bay of toxics and environmental troubles caused by foreign funded projects and colonies of industrial and commercial establishments. His order is to clean up the bay of small fisherfolk and urban poor people to pave way for anti-national and anti-development projects like the R-1 Expressway Extension Project,” Hicap said.

Hicap said Pamalakaya and Anakpawis party list members in Barangay Seneguelasan in Bacoor, Cavite received a memorandum order from Gov. Maliksi ordering them to leave the coastal village and they were given until 15 days to vacate the fishing village.

“This order is evil. Gov. Maliksi is tasked by the Supreme Court to get rid of pollution pestering Manila Bay, not to eliminate fisherpeople and the urban poor in fishing villages and massacre their economic and shelter rights,” the Pamalakaya leader added.

Hicap believed that the order of Gov. Maliksi was in response to Palace order for its Cabinet members cited in the contempt raps filed by Atty. Tony Oposa last Tuesday before the Supreme Court for failing to comply with the high tribunal decision on Manila Bay clean up.

“The Governor of Cavite, who is one of the proponents of the R-1 Expressway Extension Project that involves the reclamation of 7,000 hectares of coastal areas in Bacoor and nearby municipalities exploited the Supreme Court ruling to facilitate the displacement of not less than 26,000 fishing and urban poor families from their main source of livelihood and communities,” Pamalakaya added.

Pamalakaya said Malacañang and the provincial government of Cavite will also exploit the SC ruling on Manila Bay clean up to pursue the reclamation of another 5,000 hectares of shallow coastal waters to expand Sangley Point Naval Base to make it one of the biggest international seaports in Southeast Asia.

Pamalakaya maintained that the reclamation projects, along with polluting factories and commercial establishments are the main sources of pollution and main perpetrators that led to the sorry state of Manila Bay, and not the fisherfolk and the urban poor dwellers residing along the coastal shores of the bay.

For her part, Anakpawis secretary general Cherry Clemente said her group will join Pamalakaya and other fisherfolk petitioners in filing a manifestation and urgent motion for the issuance of writ of preliminary injunction and/or temporary restraining order.

“This manifestation is meant to inform the SC that MMDA (Metro Manila Development Authority) failed to comply with the order dated March 3, 2009 to comment on our motion in-intervention and memorandum,” she said.

“The order of Gov. Maliksi shall be challenged not only in the Supreme Court, but also in the parliament of the streets, in the environmental sala of the people and in the court of public opinion. To set the record straight, Malacañang and their business partners and Gov. Maliksi should realize that Manila Bay will not exist or regain its proud and historic past without the fisherfolk and the bay people,” Anakpawis’ Clemente added.

Clemente said the motion will ask the high tribunal for preliminary injunction and/or temporary restraining order to enjoin and prohibit the respondents to implement the demand to vacate and/or the ongoing and future demolition of the houses of the small fisherfolk and the destruction of their fish cages, fish pens, and other sources of livelihood.

The Anakpawis official said the motion will be filed anytime this week or early next week to stop Gov. Maliksi from pursuing the demolition order in Barangay Seneguelasan, one of the affected coastal barangays in Bacoor, Cavite. #

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