Tag Archives: reclamation

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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DENR chief told: Stop blaming poor over sorry state of Manila Bay

DENR chief told: Stop blaming poor over sorry state of Manila Bay

The left-leaning fisherfolk alliance Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (Pamalakaya) on Saturday urged Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Secretary Joselito Atienza to stop blaming small fishermen and urban poor folk over the sorry state of world famous Manila Bay.

“We strongly urge Secretary Atienza to stop misinforming the Filipino public about the real score on Manila Bay and quit from castrating and blaming the fisherfolk and urban poor over the sorry state of the bay. He is committing an across-the-nation foul play here, nothing more, nothing less,” Pamalakaya national chair Fernando Hicap said in a press statement.

The fisherfolk leader on February 23 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 DENR secretary is the no.1 protector of big business groups dumping their toxic wastes and changing the landscapes and waterscapes of Manila Bay for their own profiteering adventures. He is putting the blame to small and ordinary people and exonerate the real masterminds behind the destruction of the bay,” the Pamalakaya leader added.

Hicap said Secretary Atienza like Metro Manila Development Authority Chairman Bayani Fernando sees the small fisherfolk and urban poor along the bay as eyesores and nuisance groups of people who don’t deserve decent life and should be evicted along the shorelines of Manila Bay, Laguna Lake and Pasig River.

“Secretary Atienza wants to get rid of us to allow transnational takeover of Manila Bay and the two immediate bodies of waters connected with the bay—Laguna Lake and Pasig River. For the environment secretary, what is important is the interest of big business groups doing profitable ventures and business escapades along Manila Bay,” he added.

Likewise, Pamalakaya dismissed anew, the ambitious 10-year P 100-billion Manila Bay rehabilitation program being eyed by the DENR for the bay’s rehabilitation as the biggest money making scheme of the 21st century.

“P 100 billion for the 10-year rehabilitation plan on Manila Bay is really money making scheme that makes DENR the biggest source of bureaucratic corruption fund in the country. It is like income generation campaign for President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and the rest of her corrupt gang in and out of Malacañang,” said Pamalakaya.

During the SC environmental forum last week, Secretary Atienza told forum participants that the government needs P 100 billion to rehabilitate Manila Bay. The DENR chief said it would be impossible to clean the water in the Manila Bay as long as domestic wastes flow into the canals into the Pasig River and into Manila Bay.

“The Operation Plan for the Manila Bay Coastal Strategy which details the projects and budget to rehabilitate Manila Bay was completed in 2005. It is now 2008 but nobody knows what this master plan is all about. It is only Secretary Atienza, the master showman of DENR who is aware that there is such a thing as P 100- B Manila Bay rehab plan,” said Pamalakaya.

The militant group 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 not 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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DENR chief asked: “Why contractor was allowed to violate ECC on Cavite coastal road project?

DENR chief asked: “Why contractor was allowed to violate ECC on Cavite coastal road project?

The left-leaning fisherfolk alliance Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (Pamalakaya) on Wednesday asked Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Secretary Joselito Atienza why his office allowed the private company tapped by the Malacañang and the Philippine Reclamation Authority (PRA) to build the 11 kilometer R-1 Expressway Extension Project to violate the environmental compliance certificate (ECC) it issued for the national project.

Pamalakaya national chair Fernando Hicap 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,” added Hicap.

The Pamalakaya leader said in the ECC granted 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.

“Something fishy is going here. The private contractor and the PRA are operating as if Manila Bay and the fishing areas of Cavite is their conjugal republic courtesy of Malacañang,” said Hicap.

At yesterday Senate consultative hearing on the impact of the ongoing demolitions of fish pens and mussel growing structures to the livelihood of small fisherfolk livelihood and marine environment held in Barangay Sineguelasan in Bacoor, Cavite, Pamalakaya obtained 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.

The hearing was initiated by Senator Jamby Madrigal, chair of the Senate Committee on Environment and Natural Resources in cooperation with Pamalakaya, the Samahang Magdaragat ng Bacoor, Cavite (SMBC) and local barangay officials of Bacoor was attended by over 1,000 fisherfolk and residents from Barangays Maliksi, Talaba and Sineguelasan.

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.

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.

The Bacoor officials said UEM Mara Philippines has not constructed a viaduct earlier approved by the DENR resulting in the destruction of marine resources in Bacoor Bay and the flooding of various areas in Bacoor, which are not traditionally inundated during rainy season.

Pamalakaya asserted that Cavite Governor Ayong Maliksi, along with environment and natural resources secretary Joselito Atienza, officials of 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 to pave way for the reclamation of 1,600 hectares of submerged public properties in Manila 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 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 Pamalakaya. #

The Pamalakaya 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,” the group 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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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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Bong Revilla told: “Stop telling Cavite folk of Kaps Amazing stories”

The left-leaning fisherfolk alliance Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (Pamalakaya) on Thursday urged Senator Ramon “Bong” Revilla Jr. to stop telling the people of Cavite of Kaps’ Amazing stories adding that the people affected by his father’s pet project—the P 4.3 billion 7-km road R-1 Expressway Extension Project should not be designated as subjects and objects of tall tale story telling.

Members of the Pamalakaya affiliated Samahang Magdaragat ng Bacoor, Cavite (SMBC) informed the group’s national headquarters in Quezon City that Senator Revilla went to Barangay Sineguelasan last week and promised to provide fisherfolk and urban poor residents with modest houses if the government proceeds with the demolition of their homes along the coastal shores of Bacoor to pave way for the national road project.

According to SMBC’s report to Pamalakaya, Senator Revilla told residents of Barangay Sineguelasan that his office will coordinate with the non-government organization group Gawad Kalinga in constructing a tenement type townhouse for the soon-to-be displaced fisherfolk and urban poor residents in Bacoor, Cavite.

“Senator Revilla is not responding to the main issues raised by the affected sectors. He is reducing the issue to mere charity concern with the touch of feel-good and tweetum acting. But this is real life, and really life-threatening compared to episodes of Kaps Amazing stories,” said Pamalakaya national chair Fernando Hicap, referring to Revilla’s weekly show in GMA-7.

“If Senator Revilla will not address this issue in accordance with the public interest, an electoral defeat in 2010 is highly predictable. The people will not give him another chance at the electoral box-office,” the Pamalakaya leader said.

Yesterday, 16 fisherfolk braved the murky waters of Manila Bay and staged a daring 10-kilometer swim protest from Bacoor, Cavite to the Philippine Senate to protest the construction of 7-kilometer R-1 Expressway Extension Project.

The 16 swimming fisherfolk activists started their swim protest in Barangay Maliksi 3, in Bacoor, one of the affected coastal villages by the ongoing reclamation and construction of the controversial road project of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo through the Philippine Reclamation Authority chaired by former Senator Ramon Revilla Sr.

Pamalakaya said the 10-kilometer swim protest across the Manila Bay Channel is a tune up for more daring and highly agitating “class action” in the near future. “This is just the beginning of more aggressive actions against another road to perdition project of President Arroyo and her partners in crime in and out of Malacañang,” the group said.

Pamalakaya said the Senate committee on environment, chaired by Senator Jamby Madrigal should look into the alleged involvement of PRA chair Revilla Sr., his sons– Senator Ramon “Bong” Revilla Jr, chair of the Senate Committee on Public Works and Highways and Bacoor Mayor Strike Revilla in controversial P 4.3 billion R-1 Expressway Extension Project.

“The old Revilla is the current chair of PRA, the main player in the phase 2 of the Cavite Coastal Road project, his son Strike is the mayor of Cavite, the starting point of the 7-kilometer expressway project and Bong Revilla is the current chair of the Senate Committee on public works and highways. Is this a coincidence? We don’t think so,” the group said.

Aside from Revillas, Hicap said Sen. Madrigal should also subpoena Executive Secretary Eduardo Ermita to represent the Office of the President, DENR Secretary Joselito Atienza, DPWH Secretary Hermogenes Ebdane Jr, Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Reforms (BFAR) Director Malcolm Sarmiento, MMDA chairman Bayani Fernando, health secretary Francisco Duque III, Cavite Gov. Ayong Maliksi, the mayors of Kawit, Binakayan, Noveleta, Rosario and Cavite City and officials of the construction firm UEM-Mara Philippine Corporation.

“If Mrs. Arroyo holds the key on the controversial and extremely detestable R-1 Expressway Extension Projects, her officials from the national levels down to the local levels of governance hold duplicate keys, and therefore partners in crimes of the ruling gangland in Malacañang,” said Pamalakaya.

The Pamalakaya leader recalled that on June 21, 2007, President Gloria Macapagal-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. Hicap said the Sangley Point project was Mrs. Arroyo’s birthday gift to the old Revilla.

Pamalakaya said national and local government officials are using, abusing and misinterpreting the December 18 2008 Supreme Court ruling on Manila Bay clean up to effectively eliminate the livelihood of small fisherfolk and uproot the villagers from their coastal communities to pave way for reclamation and other government projects.

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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