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Fishers slam Arroyo crony over Las Vegas casino project in Manila Bay

By Bb. Joyce Cabral, Billy Javier Reyes and Cherry de Belen

MANILA, Philippines-A militant alliance of small fishermen on Wednesday revealed a close associate and crony of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo was given the franchise to develop portions of a reclaimed area in Roxas Boulevard to construct a Las Vegas type gambling complex in Manila Bay.

In a press statement, the activist Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (Pamalakaya) said Enrique Razon Jr., head of multinational port operator International Container Terminal Services, Inc. (ICTSI) and a known crony of President Arroyo has bought a gaming company that will build a casino at the Bagong Nayong Pilipino project.

“This is ridiculous, very, very ridiculous. The Supreme Court ruling is clear—Malacanang should rehabilitate Manila Bay and transforming the bay into a gambling capital of Asia is contrary to the high court decision,” said Pamalakaya national chair Fernando Hicap referring to the Dec. 2008 Supreme Court decision mandating the national government and concerned government agencies to restore Manila Bay back to its historic and proud past.

Hicap learned the other day that Razon had acquired a controlling stake in Bloombury investment Holdings Inc from Jose Ch. Alvarez, owner of Columbian Motors Corp. The Pamalakaya leader said Alvarez sold his controlling interest in Bloombury, one of the companies tapped to develop the ambitious $ 15 billion Las Vegas casino project to be installed along the 120 reclaimed area in Manila Bay.

According to a news report, Bloombury is one of four companies granted a provisional license by the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp. (Pagcor) to set up and operate gaming and entertainment facilities at the Bay Shore Bagong Nayong Pilipino Entertainment City project at the Manila Bay reclamation area in Parañaque.

The other companies granted licenses were Travellers International Hotel Group, Inc., the partnership between the Andrew L. Tan-led Alliance Global, Inc. and casino-resort operator Genting Hong Kong Ltd., SM Investments Corp. and Universal Entertainment Corp. (formerly Azure Corp.), which makes gaming machines and is a co-investor in the Wynn chain of casino hotels in Las Vegas and Macau.

“The issue of Manila Bay casino project is not only about cronyism and the despicable partnership between Arroyo and his cherished client-Mr. Razon. At stake here is the marine environment, the livelihood of 3 million people in Manila Bay and the national interest of 92 million Filipinos, and President Arroyo sacrificed these stakes to make more money and make his crony the happiest and the luckiest guy on earth.

Pagcor president and chief operating officer Rafael Butch Francisco announced on Monday the construction at the Bay Shore Entertainment City was expected to start in the latter part of the year. Sources said the Razon’s entry into the Pagcor project came after his exit from the power transmission business. Last month, Henry Sy Jr.’s OneTaipan Holdings, Inc. bought Monte Oro Grid Resources Corp. from Razon’s group for $350 million.

Pagcor said the construction is expected to start in the third quarter at an estimated cost of $400 million for the first phase. According to the state-run gambling corporation, the complex will include two five-star luxury hotel towers of over 1,000 rooms within a world-class entertainment and convention facility.

The Pamalakaya fisherfolk alliance said the construction of Manila Bay casino similar to first-rate casinos in Las Vegas and Macau will trigger the displacement of 3 million coastal people in Metro Manila and Cavite who are still dependent to fishing as principal source of livelihood, and any move to transform or convert Manila Bay for other purposes like the $15-billion casino project will have a killing impact on the livelihood of small fishermen, aside from the fact that they would be demolished from their communities, once construction of support structures and establishments begins.

“The irrevocable desire of President Arroyo and Mr. Razon to convert Manila Bay into an international gateway for big time gambling addicts both international and domestic is not only blasphemous, but also detestable and highly revolting. This government is sacrificing the future of Manila Bay fishers at the altar of corporate interest and gambling addiction of the international and domestic elites,” the Pamalakaya said.

The militant group said the construction of Manila Bay casino will also trigger reclamation of other coastal shores along Manila Bay that will result to eviction of fishing communities and coastal villagers along the bay.

Pamalakaya recalled from 1992 to 1995, the demolitions of coastal shanties became an everyday ordeal in Pasay Reclamation area. Houses were uprooted on almost day-to-day basis. Small and big time bribery to divide the communities were conducted to facilitate the demolition of homes as if the words and orders of Malacañang were the words of God in this country.

The setting up of casino and resorts, including SM’s Mall of Asia was all in the master plan of the government known as Manila Bay Master Development Plan that officially started during the time of President Ramos and projected to end between 2020 and 2025.

Pamalakaya said 3,500 small fisherfolk and their families in Pasay Reclamation Area, and another 3,000 coastal and urban poor families along the coastal shores of Parañaque were evicted by the government of former President Ramos to pave way for the construction of the proposed casino that would make the Philippines the Las Vegas of Asia.#

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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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Militants question P1.1 B billion MMDA budget for Manila Bay clean up

Militants question P1.1 B billion MMDA budget for Manila Bay clean up

The fisherfolk activist group Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (Pamalakaya) on Tuesday vowed to question the P 1.1 billion budget allocated by the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) to the Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA) in connection with the Manila Bay clean up.

Pamalakaya national chair Fernando Hicap said his group will prepare a position paper opposing the huge public fund allocated by Malacañang and will submit once the House of Representatives discusses the 2010 national budget pertaining to MMDA and the Manila Bay clean up.

“The clean up should be undertaken collectively and separately by local government units situated along the bay, together with concerned government agencies. The MMDA should be taken out of the picture since its functions overlap with the functions of government agencies and local government units. The best thing to do is to abolish the MMDA,” said Hicap.

“P 1.1 billion is P 1.1 billion. This will make the MMDA the government’s super agency in the National Capital Region. Given its notorious records of high crimes of corruption, daily political arrogance and extreme brutality, the proposed budget for MMDA’s Manila Bay clean up will make it an uncontrollable monster in 2010,” the Pamalakaya leader added.

Hicap said the huge budget allocated for the MMDA could be one the compelling reasons why the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) suddenly inked a pact with MMDA, to maximize not only its human resources, but as well the huge funds allocated to it for counter-insurgency operations and urban militarization.

“The P1.1 billion MMDA budget is really a mouth-watering banana for the AFP. The military can exploit the people of MMDA and its resources,” he added.

Pamalakaya said instead of giving MMDA the lion’s share in the budget for Manila Bay clean up, Metro Manila lawmakers and local government units representing all cities and municipalities in the National Capital Region should call for the abolition of the authority.

“National and local candidates who will call for the abolition of MMDA will earn the respect and the desired votes from Metro electorates. It is an electoral agenda voters from all classes A,B,C,D and E will support. It is winning electoral piece for 2010,” the group observed.

DBM Secretary Rolando Andaya said the government has allocated over one billion pesos, P 848 million for MMDA’s solid waste disposal and management and another P 250 million for the relocation of informal settlers on open waterways in Metro Manila for a grand total of P 1.098 billion for the clean up of Manila Bay.

Andaya said, the MMDA will spend P 223-million for operational support, maintenance, repair and rehabilitation of flood control systems, P 100 million for the mitigation of floods in the Gil Puyat Avenue-South Superhighway Area. The authority will also allot P 58 million for flood control and drainage projects in Metro Manila, and another P 50-million for urgent flood control projects.

The P 1.1 billion allocation for MMDA is part of the P 1.6 billion the government had alloted for the Manila Bay clean up. Pamalakaya said the P 1.1 billion for MMDA will be used to demolish fisherfolk and bay people, as well as hundreds of thousands of urban poor families along Pasig River in response to the Supreme Court ruling on Manila Bay. #

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Palace’s P 1.6 B budget for Manila Bay clean up meant for “demolition jobs”, says fishers group

Palace’s P 1.6 B budget for Manila Bay clean up meant for “demolition jobs”, says fishers group

The left-leaning fisherfolk alliance Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (Pamalakaya) on Tuesday said the P 1.6 billion Malacañang has allocated for Manila Bay clean up is meant to carry out the baywide demolition of fisherfolk and urban poor communities along the bay that would extend to Pasig River up to Laguna Lake.

“The P 1.6 billion fund for Manila Bay clean up is a campaign fund to undertake the massive demolitions of bay people and urban poor from their main source of livelihood and communities. This is a declaration of war,” said Pamalakaya national chair Fernando Hicap in a press statement.

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

To prove that the fund was meant for “demolition jobs”, the Pamalakaya leader 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 my memory serves me 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 Hicap.

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 town 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 spurned the destruction of Manila Bay. Pamalakaya said the government since last year had already reclaimed some 12,000 hectares of coastal waters in Bacoor Bay.

In a compliance report submitted to the Supreme Court yesterday, Budget Secretary Rolando Andaya Jr. told the high court that the fund allocation was part of next year’s proposed national budget for the cleanup, restoration and preservation of the bay’s water quality.

Andaya explained the budget deliberations for the fiscal year 2010 National Expenditure Program will commence September of 2009 and will continue until the same is passed by Congress and approved by the President as the General Appropriations Act of FY 2010.

He said the recipients of the P1,644,721,000 fund allocation include proposed programs, projects and activities of DENR and MMDA.

Secretary Andaya and five other members of the Cabinet were among the heads of 10 government agencies whom an environmentalist lawyer wanted to be cited for contempt by the Supreme Court for failing to comply with the court’s requirement for regular progress reports in connection with the Manila Bay cleanup.

The other officials were Interior Secretary Ronaldo Puno, Health Secretary Francisco Duque III, Agriculture Secretary Arthur Yap, Public Works Secretary Hermogenes Ebdane, Education Secretary Jesli Lapus, Jojo Allado of the Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System, and the heads of the Philippine Coast Guard, Philippine Ports Authority and Maritime Police.

The DBM report strressed that the biggest allocations related to the Manila Bay cleanup are those for the MMDA’s solid waste disposal and management that cost P848,525,000, and the relocation of informal settlers on open waterways in Metro Manila, P250 million.

The MMDA share includes P223,626,000 for operational support, maintenance, repair and rehabilitation of flood control systems costing, and P100 million for the mitigation of floods in the Gil Puyat Avenue-South Superhighway area.

The MMDA’s flood control and drainage projects in Metro Manila were given P58 million, while its urgent disaster flood control projects under the Pasig-San Juan-Marikina River systems and other areas were allocated P50 million.

The top recipient under the DENR programs is the Environmental Management Bureau’s monitoring of waterways, including the Manila Bay. The program was given a budget of P75.57 million.

The Office of the Environment Secretary was given P35 million for programs related to rehabilitation of the bay.

Of the amount, P20 million was set aside for physical and water quality, monitoring, mangrove reforestation and stream bank protection, bio-ecological monitoring, advocacy and communication, inventory of and support for dismantling of illegal structures, monitoring of industries and the natural process of cleaning up of degraded, toxic and sewage water and bodies of water.

A budget of P15 million was allotted as the office’s intelligence fund for gathering data on offenders of illegal forest extraction, illegal fish pens, smuggling of ozone-depleting substances and small-scale mining.
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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 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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