Fishers group rejects Sec. Teodoro’s offer on Manila Bay clean up

Fishers group rejects Sec. Teodoro’s offer on Manila Bay clean up<

The left-leaning fisherfolk alliance Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (Pamalakaya) on Thursday rejected the offer of Defense secretary and Lakas-Kampi-CMD presidential candidate Gilbert Teodoro to involve himself in the government campaign to rehabilitate Manila Bay.

In his press conference held shortly after Lakas-Kampi-CMD ruling party announced him as the administration bet in the 2010 presidential elections, Secretary Teodoro said non-government organizations and local barangay oficials in Manila Bay are inviting him to join the clean up.

“What clean up Secretary Teodoro is talking about? The demolition of fishing villages and destruction of people’s livelihood along Manila Bay? This is the way how Malacanang, concerned government agencies and local government officials carry out clean up,” said Pamalakaya national chair Fernando Hicap said in a press statement.

The Pamalakaya leader added: ” The sum of all our fears is that Secretary Teodoro will soon apply the whip of militarization to effectively execute the Manila Bay clean up.”

Hicap said Secretary Teodoro might avail of the “reserve army of labor” provided by the Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA) for the Manila Bay clean up. He said MMDA is tasked to undertake the dismantling of illegal structures and nuisance elements along the bay according to the Supreme Court ruling on Manila Bay clean up.

“As far as Malacanang and MMDA are concerned, illegal structures and nuisance elements refer to bay fisherfolk and urban poor people sourcing their livelihood and dwelling along the bay, and therfore prime targets of Manila Bay clean up,” added Hicap.

Pamalakaya said Malacanang is using the popular Manila Bay clean up as advocacy platform for Secretary Teodoro, because it knew that Manila Bay which enjoins the provinces of Bataan, Pampanga, Bulacan in Central Luzon, Malabon, Navotas, Caloocan, Manila, Pasay, Paranaque, and Las Pinas in National Capital Region, the Pasig River and Laguna Lake systems and Cavite in Southern Tagalog is a vote-rich area which accounts for almost one third or 30 million out of the country’s 90 million population.

But the militant group said Teodoro’s bogus crusade for the equally bogus Manila Bay clean up will soon be exposed to the fisherfolk and residents of Manila Bay area, because the real targets of the clean up as far as the govenment and its agencies and local government units are concerned are the poor coastal people along Manila Bay and not the toxic emitting, pollution spawning transnational interests in Manila Bay.

“At the end of the day, Teodoro definitely will clinch the limelight for leading the MMDA and defense army in uprooting people and their livelihood. That’s another political black eye for the Lakas-Kampi-CMD presidential wannabe,” said Pamalakaya.

Last week, the Department of Budgement and Management announced that Malacanang is alloting P 1.6 billion Malacañang for the clean up, which Pamalakaya described as state capital to puruse the baywide demolition of fisherfolk and urban poor communities.

Pamalakaya said the P 1.6 billion Palace allocations will target 13 million out of the 30 million population of Manila Bay for demolition including urban poor families along Pasig River and the 27,000 fisherfolk families in Laguna Lake.

“Secretary Teodoro as the crusader of the Malacanang’s clean up escade will play a big role in this across-the-bay killing of peoples livelihood, housing rights and environment,” it said.

To prove that the fund was meant for “demolition jobs”, the Pamalakaya recalled that sometime last year, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) granted the request of the Cavite provincial government for assistance in demolishing fishepens and mussel growing structures in Bacoor Bay.

“If our memory serves us right, last year, DENR secretary gave Cavite Gov. Ayong Maliksi not less than P 800,000 for the demolition of fishpens and other structures in Cavite in the name of the bogus Manila Bay clean up,” added Pamalakaya.

Pamalakaya said the planned demolition of 4,000 Cavite fisherfolk and residents starting tomorrow will be funded by the P 1.6 billion Palace allocations for Manila Bay through the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG), the DENR and the Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA) who will help the the Cavite provincial government in carrying out the demolitions from Bacoor to Cavite City.

The militant group said in Cavite alone, more than 26,000 fisherfolk and urban poor residents in 10 barangays of Bacoor will be displaced once the Manila Bay clean up programs go full blast.

Pamalakaya said the government is exploiting and abusing the Supreme Court ruling on Manila Bay clean up to effectively carry out the demolitions of communities to pave way for the entry of foreign funded government projects like road expansion and establishment of high rise buildings and condominiums, including casinos and high end rest and recreation centers.

The group said the reclamation of shallow waters in Manila Bay to allow the construction of R-1 Expressway Extension Project and the conversion of Sangley Naval Point into an international seaport further led to the deterioration of Manila Bay. Pamalakaya said the government since last year had already reclaimed some 12,000 hectares of coastal waters in Bacoor Bay.#

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