Tag Archives: DPWH

Group pushes gov’t takeover of Maynilad, Manila Water

By Lady Michelle Adobe, Queen Shawn Dok, Warang Kyusi and Gerry Albert Corpuz

MANILA, Philippines-The activist fisherfolk alliance Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (Pamalakaya) on Thursday asked President Benigno Simeon “Noynoy” Aquino to declare a state takeover of two water utility companies— the Maynilad Water Services Inc. and the Manila Water asserting that the policy of privatization of water resources did not work in favor of the Filipino people.

In a press statement, Pamalakaya vice chairperson Salvador France said the government should immediately and unconditionally rescind the contracts it entered with water concessionaires’ Maynilad and Manila Water and proceed with the honest to goodness nationalization of the water utility system not only in Metro Manila and those covered by Maynilad and Manila Water franchises but all over the country.

“It pays to check the label and the label that is privatization of water services is nothing but a long-running poison and perpetual nightmare to consumers and the Filipino public,” said France.

The Pamalakaya leader dared Aquino to go against his political benefactors– the Lopez clan, the owner of Maynilad and the Ayala group of Manila Water and pursue the collective interest and national agenda of the people.

“It is public knowledge that Aquino is the political best friend of the Lopezes and the Ayalas nowadays. The 64 US dollar question mark is– Will Aquino go against those who produced money for his presidential ambition and political career?” France asked.

The Malacanang Palace yesterday assuaged fears of a worsening water shortage because of the low level of Angat Dam in Norzagaray, Bulacan, the main source of water of Metro Manila.

Presidential spokesperson Edwin Lacierda assured the public that the problem was limited to areas in the west zone being serviced by Maynilad Water Services Inc.

In the House of Representatives, however, the water shortage has divided lawmakers. Some congressmen were pushing for more drastic moves such as getting the President to put the area under a state of calamity or making him the “water czar,” and others saying Maynilad has the burden of resolving the crisis.

The Lopez-owned Maynilad has implemented rotating water interruptions over the past week, while Manila Water Co., concessionaire in the east zone, is considering rationing in the coming weeks.

Meanwhile, France also pressed President Aquino to direct the Laguna Lake Development Authority(LLDA) to keep the 94,000 hectare lake free from any proposal that would tap the dying lake as potential source of potable water for Metro Manila.

“Laguna Lake is dying. Mr.Aquino should stop act that would send this lake dead on arrival,” the Pamalakaya official said.

“Please don’t touch Laguna Lake. We cannot solve a major problem by creating a bigger problem with the utilization of the 94,000 hectare lake. The idea is a crazy adventure aim to realize super profits under the guise of social welfare but in reality is all about monopoly windfall at the expense of people’s livelihood, welfare and the environment,” said Pamalakaya.

Pamalakaya believed business people and groups with vested interests on water utility and its promising profitability in times of crisis could be conspiring to create a condition of water crisis to justify the corporate takeover of Laguna Lake for commercial, industrial and other profit-driven ventures.

“Let me state the fact. The water problem manifested by water rationing in Metro Manila has been there since time immemorial and was further aggravated when water concessionaires took over the operations of the water utility which means poor service and high cost of water. Now they are talking again of water crisis. For what? For more takeover and profits?” said Pamalakaya.

Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) Secretary Rogelio Singson yesterday said the government is considering Laguna Lake as an alternative source of water, along with Marikina and Pampanga Rivers to address the water crisis and mitigate the impacts of the drought.

Laguna Lake Development Authority (LLDA) general manager Edgar Manda said the authority was open to have Laguna Lake as alternative source of water for Metro Manila residents. He said the Lopez ownedMaynilad Water Services Incorporated could utilize its water treatment facilities to be able to get at least 50,000 million liters per day.

Pamalakaya said although the LLDA is authorized under Republic Act 4850 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 Noynoy Aquino led Manila government and the LLDA are 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,” said Pamalakaya.

Pamalakaya revealed the standing proposal of Maynilad which is to abstract 300 million liters per day (MLD) from Laguna Lake, that according to the group was extremely dangerous to the lake environment.

The militant group said the proposal will entail the permanent 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.“

“We strongly urge President Aquino, Manda, the DPWH and the LLDA authorities to refrain from further privatizing and converting the lake for the purpose of Jurassic model of development, super profiteering and fat returns of commissions and kickbacks. They are hereby prevented by national interest from entering into a contract that constitutes sell-out and all-out destruction of people’s livelihood and environment,” said Pamalakaya.

Pamalakaya 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. It 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.Citing the study conducted by the Netherlands government for the LLDA, it said Laguna De Bay, being the largest lake in the Philippines and strategically located in the heart of Calabarzon region, is the most viable source of water for Metro Manila’s west zone.

Maynilad, which is authorized water concessionaire of the Manila Water Sewerage System (MWSS) for the western part of Metro Manila, said the proposed plan if approved will enable the Lopez water utility firm to supply water to the remaining 29 percent covered by its agreement with MWSS in the West Zone area.

At present, Maynilad renders water supply to about 703,519 customers, or only 71 percent of its total concession area. The rest of the west zone does not have enough water supply — mainly comprising the areas of Muntinlupa, Parañaque, and Las Piñas.

The LLDA said if it gives the go signal Maynilad will take over operations of the existing water treatment plant in Putatan, Muntinlupa, which currently extracts 180,000 cubic meters per month of lake water and then supplies it to the Ayala Alabang subdivision for the residents’ domestic use.Maynilad will gradually implement the 300-million-liters-per-day extraction of water from the Lake. The first 100 million liters per day will be made available to the west zone of Metro Manila in 2010 and then water extraction will be increased to 200 million liters in 2011, and then 300 million liters per day by 2014

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Noynoy, Mar warned: Stop Ayong’s demolition plan or face electoral backlash in 2010

By Bb. Joyce Cabral and Sugar Hicap

Bacoor, Cavite- The left-leaning fisherfolk alliance Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (Pamalakaya) on Tuesday warned Liberal Party presidential and vice-presidential candidates Senator Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III and Mar Roxas that the people of Cavite will not hesitate to junk them in the 2010 elections because their LP point person in Cavite- Gov. Ayong Maliksi is spearheading massive demolition of fishing villages across the province to pave way for foreign funded government projects.

“We will campaign for the outright rejection of Noynoy and Mar in the province of Cavite if they cannot stop their point man– Governor Maliksi from reducing people’s homes and livelihood into debris of the past,” said Pamalakaya national chair Fernando Hicap in a press statement.

“This is a make or break for the two aspirants in the 2010 national elections. They have to stop the madman of Cavite, who is Gov. Maliksi, their party mate and LP’s main man in Cavite if they want to keep their winning chances at par with other presidential and vice-presidential candidates. If they will not act on this matter, the people of Cavite have no option but to campaign against the LP tandem of Noynoy and Mar, and they have nothing to blame but Gov. Maliksi and his appetite for destruction and fat kickbacks,” the Pamalakaya leader added.

Hicap said Cavite province is one of the top 5 provinces in the country with the largest concentration of voters with more than 1 million registered voters as of 2008. The Pamalakaya official said the 1 million voters in Cavite could make or unmake a president or a vice-president, especially in a hotly contested and open wide electoral race.

“Noynoy and Mar should discipline Maliksi and stop his madness if they want to stay in the electoral derby in 2010, or else face rejection of the Cavite people next year,” he added.

Reports reaching Pamalakaya headquarters in Quezon City revealed that Gov. Maliksi is planning to undertake a major demolition operation in Barangay Sineguelasan in Bacoor, Cavite to pave the way for R-1 Expressway Extension Project, an enabling project for the expansion and modernization of Sangley Point Naval Base in Cavite City, which the national government intends to develop as a major international seaport in the country.

“The 11-kilometer expressway project is a road to perdition and a highway to destruction. But for Gov. Maliksi, the road expansion project 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.

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. If Noynoy and Mar will not listen and will continue to subscribe to Maliksi’s program of destruction in Cavite, then the two LP bets are digging their own graves in the province,” 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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Manila Bay fishers staged 70- boat fluvial protest against baywide reclamation, demolition

By Mama Mila Liguasan and Billy Javier Reyes

Pasay City- Fisherfolk affected by ongoing government projects in Manila Bay yesterday staged a 70-boat fluvial protest from Barangay Sineguelasan in Bacoor, Cavite to the coastal shore of the Philippine Senate to demand an immediate stop on all reclamation activities along the bay, including the construction of the controversial R-1 Expressway Extension Project and the demolition of some 26,000 coastal families.

The fluvial action was organized by the fisherfolk alliance Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (Pamalakaya), its regional chapter Pamalakaya-Southern Tagalog and staunch allies Samahang Magdaragat ng Bacoor, Cavite (SMBC), Anakpawis party list and the Alyansa ng mga Magdaragat ng Bacoor Inc (AMB). Small fishermen from Paranaque and Las Pinas also joined the water-based mass action.

The 70-boat fluvial protest participated by more than 300 fishermen across Bacoor Bay and parts of Manila Bay in Las Pinas and Paranaque disembarked at the coastal shore of the Philippine Senate by lunch time. At the Senate, they were met by Senator Jamby Madrigal, chair of the Senate Committee on Environment, who invited their leaders as resource persons to the 1 pm senate hearing called by the opposition senator to investigate the impact of government projects and reclamation activities on Manila Bay environment.

“The twin catastrophe across Luzon left by storm Ondoy and typhoon Pepeng should serve as lesson to the current occupant in Malacanang and their cherished clients from the corporate world. The unstoppable greed for super profits of big business clients of Malacanang and the equally unbridled fetish of state officials for fat kick backs and huge commissions should be blamed for this full-blown humanitarian crisis and all time high environmental disaster,” said Pamalakaya national chair Fernando Hicap in a press statement.

Hicap added: “Enough is enough. The government master plan of destruction in Manila Bay should be smashed into pieces at all cost.”

The Pamalakaya official said the infrastructure projects undertaken by the government in partnership with foreign investors along Manila Bay had destroyed the capability of the bay to provide livelihood to millions of small fishermen and residents along the bay, adding that government destructive projects which started in the late 70s and early 80s caused the alarming reduction in the average fish catch of small fisherfolk from 5 kilos to 10 kilos daily, to an average 1 kilo to 3 kilos a day.

Hicap said government reclamation projects which served as host grounds for industrial, commercial and infrastructure projects will continue to frustrate efforts aimed at rehabilitating Manila Bay. He said the demolition of fishing communities and urban poor is not the solution to the problem.

The fluvial protester said the condition of Manila Bay further deteriorated when previous governments allowed the reclamation of more than 20,000 hectares of coastal areas since the time of former President Ferdinand Marcos. Government and private establishments like Folk Arts Theater, Cultural Center of the Philippines, the Coconut Palace, the GSIS and the Senate building and now the SM Mall of Asia were constructed along these reclaimed portions of Manila Bay.

Pamalakaya-Timog Katagalugan chair Pedro Gonzalez said the R-1 Expressway Extension project had already reclaimed 60 percent of the target 7,000 hectares of coastal areas along Bacoor Bay that includes the municipalities of Bacoor, Kawit, Binakayan, Noveleta and Cavite City. He said the government also intends to reclaim another 5,000 hectares of submerged public lands in Cavite City to expand the Sangley Point Naval Base which the government will develop into a major international seaport in Southern Tagalog region.

Gonzales maintained that aside from destroying the marine environment and killing the livelihood of coastal people, these reclamation and other government sanctioned projects will displace 26,000 fisherfolk families and urban poor residents along Bacoor Bay. Last year, the government demolished 1,000 families in several coastal villages of Bacoor.

Pamalakaya 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 group 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.

Pamalakaya and allied groups said Palace top officials and other government officials like environment secretary Joselito Atienza, Metro Manila Development Authority chair Bayani Fernando, Laguna Lake Development Authority general Manager Edgar Manda and Cavite governor Ayong Maliksi are exploiting the Supreme Court ruling on Manila Bay clean up to effectively remove small fishermen and urban poor from their main source of livelihood and coastal villages to enable the national government to pursue flagship projects funded by big business groups #

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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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Ombudsman sacrificed 17 DPWH execs to get FG, Ebdane off the hook, says militant group

Ombudsman sacrificed 17 DPWH execs to get FG, Ebdane off the hook, says militant group

The 17 officials of the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) who were named in the charge sheet of the Office of the Ombudsman in connection with the alleged anomalies regarding World Bank-funded road projects were made as sacrificial lambs to get First Gentleman Atty. Jose Miguel Arroyo and public works secretary Hermogenes Ebdane Jr. off the hook.

“This is ridiculous, outrageous and a grand design for one of the biggest cover ups of the 21st century. Where is the Ombudsman’s sense of truth and objectivity here? This anti-graft office is setting the stage for another major whitewash, nothing more, nothing less,” the militant fisherfolk alliance Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (Pamalakaya) said in a press statement.

Pamalakaya national chair Fernando Hicap said the charging of 17 DPWH officials minus the alleged principals—the president’s husband Atty. Arroyo and Secretary Ebdane, is nothing but a political masquerade.

“The Filipino public will not buy the idea that Atty. Arroyo and Secretary Ebdane were not part of the collusion in orchestrating corruption in the Arroyo bureaucracy. The people are not born yesterday not to understand this well-placed syndicate and mafia operating in and out of Malacañang and in and out of the public works portfolio,” he added.

The Pamalakaya leader said the Filipino public is expecting the Office of the Ombudsman to absolve the First Gentleman and Secretary Ebdane from this large-scale act of corruption in the Macapagal-Arroyo government.

“The taxpaying public is convinced the Office of the Ombudsman will not touch the untouchables and it will just go after the starlets and bit players in the DPWH. The Filipino taxpayers are correct, because the Ombudsman decided to drop the presidential husband and Secretary Ebdane from the charge sheet and from the horror roll,” added Hicap.

However, Pamalakaya appealed to the 17 DPWH officials named in the charge sheet of the Office of the Ombudsman to tell all and reveal the involvement of First Gentleman and the public works secretary on alleged anomalies in foreign and national government funded projects.
“Bare all and tell all. The truth will set them free. That should be their political motto once they face the probers of the Office of the Ombudsman in connection with this case and other anomalies involving the top honchos in Malacañang. This is their time to redeem themselves and become the people’s witnesses against this regime of greed,” the militant group added.

The Office of the Ombudsman’s Field Investigation Office (FIO) on Wednesday recommended the conduct of a preliminary investigation to determine if graft charges could be filed against 17 officials of the Department of Public Works and Highways being linked to the allegedly anomalous World Bank-funded road projects.

Assistant Ombudsman Mark Jalandoni, head of the FIO, named those who should be investigated include former DPWH secretary Florante Soriquez, current undersecretary Manuel Bonoan, and assistant secretaries Bashir Rasuman, Salvador Pleytol and Juanito Abergas.

Jalandoni said the FIO pushed for a preliminary investigation on Soriquez because he approved the results of the bidding. He said Bonoan also has to undergo probe because he was the chairman of the DPWH-BAC for Visayas and Mindanao projects, as well as Rasuman because he was BAC chair for Mindanao.

The Office of the Ombudsman also recommended the investigation on Mocamad Raki-in Sr., vice-chairman for the Mindanao area; Rafael Yabut, vice chairman for operations for Area III; BAC members Emerson Benitez, project manager lll and head of the BAC-Technical Working Group; Baliame Mamainte, project director of the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development-Project Management Office (IBRD); Lope Adriano, project director for the IBRD-PMOP; and Atty. Joel Jacob, officer-in-charge of Legal Service.

Others are Camilo Foronda, OIC for Legal Service; Director Antonio Molano, Jr. of the Bureau of Research and Standards; Leonora Cuenca, OIC of the Comptrollership and Financial Management Services; Director Walter Ocampo of the Bureau of Construction, all BAC members and Florencio Aricheta, representative from National Constructors Association of the Philippines and the Philippine Construction Association.

If there is probable cause, the officials could be charged for violating Section 3 (e) and (i) of Republic Act 3019 (Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices); and Section 4A (a) and (b) of RA No. 6713 (Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Government Officials and Employees).

They could also be charged with administrative cases of grave misconduct, dishonesty, conduct prejudicial to the interest of the service and neglect of duty. #

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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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Cavite gov, 3 government execs violate SC ruling on Manila Bay, fishers group assert

Cavite gov, 3 government execs violate SC ruling on Manila Bay, fishers group assert

The left-leaning fisherfolk alliance Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (Pamalakaya) on Wednesday 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 violated the Supreme Court ruling on Manila Bay.

Pamalakaya national chair Fernando Hicap said 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 these officials, the R-1 undertaking is a multi-billion peso finance campaign. And to effectively carry out this P 8-billion fund sourcing, they are exploiting and prostituting the SC ruling on Manila Bay against the opposition,” 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,” Hicap added.

The Pamalakaya leader said a fisherfolk legal forum billed “Manila Bay By Day, Manila Bay By Night” will be staged on February 16 at the Ibon Center in Quezon City to fully understand the legal implications and relations of the December 2008 Supreme Court ruling on issues confronting Manila Bay fishermen, and how fisherfolk and the bay residents could effectively use the high tribunal decision as a legal remedy against the all-out destruction of their small-livelihood and demolition of fishing villagers along Manila Bay.

Hicap said 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) will lead the legal education among members of Pamalakaya in Manila Bay.

Hicap added in that forum, his group hopes that they identify the legal actions to be taken against Gov. Maliksi, secretaries Atienza and Ebdane and Revilla Sr. of PRA.

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.

Yesterday, some 50 protesters who staged a camp-out inside the R-1 reclamation were dispersed by a composite team of 300 police and security marshals deployed by the Bacoor PNP, Cavite City PNP and Tagaytay PNP. Though no one was arrested, scores of fisherfolk and residents belonging to Samahang Magdaragat ng Bacoor, Cavite, an affiliate of Pamalakaya were hurt during the dispersal.

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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