Tag Archives: reclamation

Fishers group asked CBCP support vs. Las Vegas like casino in Manila Bay

By Bb. Joyce Cabral

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) and staunch ally Anakpawis party list on Sunday appealed to the influential Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) to join the groups’ crusade against the ambitious multi-billion casino project in Manila Bay.

“To the archbishops and bishops of the CBCP, please hear and support our appeal and prayer against this giant gambling escapade of Malacanang and its cherished cronies,” said Pamalakaya national chair Fernando Hicap.

The Pamalakaya leader said Enrique Razon Jr., head of multinational port operator International Container Terminal Services, Inc. (ICTSI) and a known crony of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo has bought a gaming company that will build a casino at the Bagong Nayong Pilipino project.

“This is ridiculous, very, very ridiculous. Please allow us to inform the bishops that the Supreme Court ruling is clear——-Malacanang should rehabilitate Manila Bay and should not transform the bay into a gambling capital of Asia is contrary to the high court decision,” said Hicap in reference 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 last week 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.

“The bishops are politically and morally obliged to confront this gambling project of the ruling Mafia in Malacanang. That is one their callings as far as the Christian faith and the people’s collective interest are concerned,” the Pamalakaya official added.

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. Sad to say, 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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Visayan fishers want 12-year old fisheries law repealed

By Sugar Hicap

Cebu City- Fisherfolk groups in the island provinces of Bohol, Cebu and Negros today declare the 12-year old Fisheries Code of 1998 a major disaster, saying the next Congress should prioritize its repeal and replace it a new fisheries law that is progressive and responsive to the demand of the marginal fishermen across-the-country.

Leaders of Bokkana-Bohol, Pamana-Sugbo and Pamalakaya-Negros, the three island wide chapters of the fisherfolk group Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (Pamalakaya) in Central Visayas and Western Visayas said the law enacted during the time of former President Fidel Ramos failed to achieve its goal, which is to empower the Filipino fisherfolk and raise the standard of living of not less than 1.3 million small fishermen and fish workers, and other 8 million people eking their livelihood from fishing and fish culture.

Enacted on Feb.24, 1998, the Fisheries Code replaced Presidential Decree 704 implemented during the time of former President Ferdinand Marcos. The post-Martial Law code reserves the 15-kilometer municipal fishing area to small fisherfolk and taps fisherfolk organizations as “Bantay Dagat” to help government enforcers in catching fishermen using dynamite and other forms of illegal fishing and drive away commercial fishing vessels from encroaching the reserved fishing area for marginal fishermen.

However, there are exceptions and loopholes in the law that allows big time commercial fishing vessels to penetrate the 15-kilometer municipal fishing area, if the waters inside the 15-municipal fishing area are 7 fathoms deep. In many cases, commercial fishing companies enter the municipal fishing grounds because of the 7-fathom exception.

“The 1998 fisheries law is either a comprehensive failure or a running nightmare or both. It has done nothing to alleviate the sorry situation of small fishers. The fisheries code is supposed to raise the standard of living of 10 million fishers and their dependents. But look at the fisherfolk now, they are the poorest people all over the country,” said Pamalakaya national chair Fernando Hicap.

The Pamalakaya leader said Fisheries Code of 1998, which is hyped a protective law failed to stop large-scale destructive fishing, offshore mining in Central Visayas and Negros Island and now the offshore reclamation in Panglao Island, province of Bohol.

Hicap said the Fisheries Code reduced fisherfolk as sidekick law enforcers of the maritime police of the Philippine National Police (PNP) or reserve troops of the Philippine Navy.

The Pamalakaya leader said the 1998 fisheries law effectively limited the scope of fishing from communal practice to zone divided fishing with the implementation of zoning ordinance and color coding that bars fisherfolk from fishing to nearby municipalities or provinces.

Hicap said the 1998 fisheries law also legalized extortion and corruption, with local government officials imposing fees and taxes to small scale fishermen as to use of boats, nets and other fishing gears.

He said the 12-year central law in local fisheries sector also failed to combat global warming, and on the contrary promoted the massive conversion of fishing areas and public lands along coastal and lakeshores into aquaculture hub, industrial zones and eco-tourism spots.

Pamalakaya, its regional and provincial chapters in Central Visayas and Negros Island will lead the drafting of a new fishery law that would be submitted to next Congress for approval.

Tentatively billed as Genuine Fisheries and Aquatic Reform Bill (GFARB), the new fisheries act envisioned by small fisherfolk seeks to nationalize the backward fishing industry, ban all government and private activities that destroy the marine fishing areas like offshore mining and reclamation, and other forms of privatization and conversion of all communal fishing areas and coastal communities.

The GFARB will immediately reserve the exclusive use of 15-km municipal fishing ground to small fisherfolk, stop massive fish importation activities, distribute existing corporate fishponds to fishermen associations and organizations, and ensure production subsidies to poor fisherfolk.

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Fishers group asked Malacanang: Stop Panglao reclamation project

By CherryPie Eggpie Sandoval and Lollipop delos Reyes

Manila, Philippines-The activist fisherfolk alliance Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (Pamalakaya) on Monday pressed Malacanang to stop the ambitious reclamation project in Panglao, Bohol province, asserting that the environment and the livelihood of small fisherfolk should not be sacrificed in exchange for business accommodation and money making and profiteering escapades of the few.

In a press statement, Pamalakaya national chair Fernando Hicap asked President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo to immediately recall the 450-hectare reclamation project in Panglao offshore, saying the Office of the President has decisive say on what he called “a geographic devastation and environmental holocaust.”

“Imagine the national government and the provincial government will change the geography and engage in all-out destruction of Panglao just to please their corporate clients. The situation merits the immediate cancelation of the project,” Hicap stressed.

The Pamalakaya leader believed the proposed man-made islands project off Panglao shores has the seal of approval of Malacanang. “The finger prints of Mrs. Arroyo and her staunch ally Gov. Eric Aumentado are imprinted in this extremely mindboggling project”, he said.

Hicap said it will ask militant representatives in Congress— Bayan Muna Reps. Satur Ocampo, Teodoro Casino and Atty. Neri Javier Colmenares, Gabriela Women Party lawmakers Liza Maza and Luzviminda Ilagan and Anakpawis party list Reps. Rafael Mariano and Joel Maglunsod to conduct an investigation on the controversial project in aid of legislation.

Hicap said Pamalakaya will formally write Sen. Loren Legarda, chair of the Senate committee on Climate Change to conduct her own investigation on the possible impact of offshore reclamation in Panglao Island on climate change. “We will explore all possible venues to ventilate the opposition of the fisherfolk and other concerned sectors on this outrageous escapades in Panglao,” he said.

The location of the project developed by Oasis Leisure Islands and Development Inc. is composed of cluster of islands. The project proponent said the first one of about 150 hectares is intended for commercial and recreation areas, convention centers, hotels and other facilities; the second island (150 has.) is for institutional and residential, spas and medical tourism facilities; and the third one (75 has.) would house for small commercial establishments such dive and souvenir shops and apartment for people who work here.

The fourth island (70 has.) would be reserved for nature’s park or camping grounds or fishing for commercial use. Here, “private sector can be tapped for coral planting and other marine-based initiatives for the conservation and protection of the environment.” The fifth cluster of islets (5 has.) can be acquired privately,

“Panglao Island has been virtually converted into a Temptation Island by the Manila government and its puppet mini-republic—the Bohol republic of Gov. Aumentado. Anyone can have his or her own republic built in Panglao as long as the price is right. This is totally and highly inflammatory,” said Pamalakaya. #

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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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(UPDATE)Southern Tagalog farmers say new land reform law will bring catastrophes to land tillers

by Axel Pinpin, contributor

Manila, Philippines – The militant KASAMA-TK (Katipunan ng mga Samahang Magbubukid sa Timog Katagalugan) expressed dismay over the extension of 20-year old Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP) and warned of massive re-concentration of land to the hands of big landlords and foreign companies in the country.

“In the midst of destruction and damaged brought by typhoon Ondoy to the agriculture sector in the region, we should gear for more catastrophic events that will be brought by CARP Extension with Reforms (CARPER),” Imelda Lacandazo, spokesperson of KASAMA-TK said during a picket-protest in front of the Department of Agrarian Reform in Quezon City where more than a hundred of farmers staged a die-in to dramatized their condition.

The Provincial Agriculture Office in Laguna reported that 7,300 hectares of rice field were submerged during the height of flood caused by the overflowing of Laguna Lake that leads to a 21% reduction of the total production of rice in the province.
Lacandazo noted that even before the typhoon, rice fields in Laguna were already flooded leaving the farmers in destitute after the cropping season.

According to the group, this situation is aggravated by high land rental and usury, low wages of farm workers and low-prices of agricultural produce.

Earlier, the group picketed in front of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources while their leaders are presenting the group’s demand in a dialogue with Sec. Lito Atienza. They are pressing the DENR to stop the construction of Laiban Dam in Tanay, Rizal saying that it will displace indigenous people in nine communities.

The group is also calling to immediately discontinue the R1 Coastal Road Extension Project in Bacoor, Cavite adding that 100,000 families will lost their houses and source of livelihood.

“Kailan pa matututo ang gubyerno sa mga mapangwasak nilang proyekto? Kitang-kita naman na kung hindi sa mga diumano’y proyektong pangkaunlaran ng gubyerno, hindi sana natin sasapitin ang mga ganitong kalamidad,” Pedro Gonzales, secretary general of Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamalakaya in Southern Tagalog (PAMALAKAYA-TK) stated in his speech during the rally.

Gonzales also blamed the Laguna Lake Development Authority for its negligence in controlling the structures built along the shore of the lake that caused flooding in the nearby communities.

The leaders of KASAMA-TK and their provincial chapters held a dialogue with the secretary of DAR to discuss several agrarian disputes in the Southern Tagalog region.

The agrarian cases, according to Lacandazo, have long been keeping the farmers landless in spite of the implementation of the bogus CARP. She mentioned the Hacienda Yulo in Laguna, Camella Homes owned by Manny Villar in Batangas and Ayala Properties in Cavite among others.

“The conditions of the farmers are miserable, with the CARPER now signed into RA 9700, it will be wretched,” the group added.

Meanwhile, about 1,000 calamity farmer victims in Central Luzon and Southern Tagalog region on Tuesday night are gearing up for a rural camp-out at the national office of the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) to press their 10-point immediate demand to Malacanang, the DAR and the Department of Agriculture, which they argued will address the rural crisis worsened by storm Ondoy and typhoon Pepeng.

In a joint press statement, the Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP), Anakpawis party list, the Alyansa ng Magbubukid ng Gitnang Luzon (AMGL) and the Katipunan ng mga Samahang Magbubukid sa Timog Katagalugan (Kasama-TK) will present the set of demands on the eve of their long march from DAR to Malacanang on Oct.21 dubbed as Farmers’ March for Land, Justice and Rehabilitation”

KMP secretary general Danilo Ramos said the devastating impact of typhoon Ondoy and Pepeng is best addressed by the following measures:

1. Free distribution of land to landless and land lacking farmers all over the country. In particular, farmers from Central Luzon represented by AMGL demanded the immediate and unconditional free distribution of 375 hectares of land in San Miguel, Bulacan allegedly landgrabbed by Rep. Luis Villafuerte, the 3,100 hectares of prime agricultural lands inside the Fort Magsaysay Military Reservation and the 6,453 hectare Hacienda Luisita owned by the family of the late President Corazon Aquino in Tarlac province.

In Southern Tagalog, peasant groups demanded the free distribution of all agricultural lands owned and controlled by rich families like the Ayalas and the Yulos in the region. Kasama-TK also pressed the government to stop all Calabarzon projects in Southern Tagalog, including the controversial Laiban dam project.

2. Support housing projects for farmers and rural people whose homes were destroyed or uprooted at the height of tropical storm Ondoy and typhoon Pepeng.
3. Rehabilitation of farms and granting of seeds and seedlings for rice, corn, vegetables and d other farm crops
4. Financial grant of about P 10,000 to P 15,000 per hectare
5. Zero interest credit line to the Land Bank of the Philippines amounting to P 10,000 to
P 15,000 per hectare
6. Provisions for farm implements such as tractors, hand tractors and carabaos.
7. Setting up of potable water supply.
8. Moratorium on irrigation fees imposed by the National Irrigation Authority and private irrigation systems.
9. Livelihood to rural people
10. Automatic repudiation of farm debts, if not moratorium in payment of principals and interests on acquired loans from landlords and local financial institutions. (With reports from Roy Morilla and Bb.Joyce Cabral

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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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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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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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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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Earth Day outrage: Fishers, environmental activists are mad with top environment chief

Earth Day outrage: Fishers, environmental activists are mad with top environment chief

Manila, Philippines-Staunch critics of environment secretary Joselito Atienza on Earth Day expressed their outrage against the controversial DENR chief by dumping a sack of mud sourced from dredged soil near the site of the 11-kilometer R-1 Expressway Extension Project in Bacoor, Cavite.

Around 200 members of the fisherfolk group Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamalakaya ng Pilipinas (Pamalakaya) and its Cavite affiliate—Samahang Magdaragat ng Bacoor, Cavite (SMBC) joined forces with the environmental activist group Kalikasan-People’s Network for the Environment (Kalikasan-PNE) in assailing secretary Atienza over the DENR’s massive uprooting of small fishpens and mussel growing structures in Manila Bay to pave way for the construction of the P 4.3-billion Cavite Coastal Road Phase 2 Project.

In a joint statement, Pamalakaya national chair Fernando Hicap and Kalikasan-PNE national coordinator Clemente Bautista charged Atienza of spearheading the destruction of Manila Bay to allow the construction of R-1 Expressway Extension Project, which both leaders said will destroy the livelihood of the people and the remaining marine life in Manila Bay.

“We are mad with the Office of the President and Secretary Atienza. They are responsible for the massive loss of livelihood and all-out destruction of the bay in the name of corporate interests and bureaucratic corruption. On the occasion of Earth Day, we declare President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and Secretary Atienza as enemies of the people and environment, and coddlers of big time plunders and destroyers of the environment,” the Pamalakaya and Kalikasan-PNE leaders said.

According to SMBC President Rodolfo Torres, the R-1 Expressway Extension Project had already displaced 26,000 fisherfolk families from their main source of livelihood, and he blamed Atienza for issuing the environmental compliance certificate to the project jointly undertaken by the Philippine Reclamation Authority (PRA) and the Malaysia group UEM-Mara Philippines.

Torres said the ECC granted by DENR to PRA and UEM-Mara allowed the national government and its foreign investor client to reclaim not less than 5,000 hectares of coastal waters in Bacoor and nearby towns of Rosario, Noveleta, Kawit and Cavite City.

But Pamalakaya, its regional chapter Pamalakaya-Southern Tagalog and Kalikasan-PNE said the ECC granted by the DENR to R-1 proponent UEM Mara-Philippines Corporation in 2007 clearly stipulated that the 11- kilometer expressway shall be constructed on top of a viaduct to avoid flooding in the low-lying areas of Bacoor, Cavite.

“Secretary Atienza is politically, lawfully and morally obliged to reply in all honesty about this public inquiry. Did his office gave UEM-Mara the go signal to reduce the ECC into a plain piece of thrash paper and do whatever they wanted to do. There is a big difference between a viaduct and a solid land expressway made possible by all-out reclamation,” the groups asserted.

Based on the document obtained by Pamalakaya, it said the ECC awarded to UEM-Mara Philippines Corporation, the private firm was not allowed to destroy the remaining mangrove areas and reclaim coastal waters for the R-1 Expressway Extension Project.

Pamalakaya said a resolution of the municipality of Bacoor urging President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo to temporarily halt the construction of R-1 Expressway Extension Project until the design is modified for the benefit of the people of Bacoor.

In the resolution dated October 20, 2008 and signed by Bacoor Mayor Strike Revilla and councilors Rolando Remulla, Hubert Gervacio, Normita Celestino, Avelino de Castro, Miguel Bautista, Bayani de Leon, Catherine Sarino and Gianne Louise Olegario, the local government of Bacoor appealed to President Arroyo to immediately order the temporary cessation of the R-1 Expressway construction, as they urged Malacañang to construct the road project on top of viaduct and not by reclamation involving thousands of reclaimed and to be-reclaimed areas.

In said municipal resolution, Mayor Revilla and other councilors reiterated that the R-1 Expressway Extension project as specifically mentioned in the ECC granted by DENR shall be constructed on top of a viaduct to avoid flooding in the low areas of Bacoor.

Mayor Revilla and the councilors asserted that UEM Mara through its contractor SARGASSO Construction and Development Corporation reclaimed large tracts of land in Bacoor Bay resulting in the economic displacement of hundreds of small-scale fisherfolk. #

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