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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Filed under environment, human rights, Manila Bay

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