Tag Archives: Senator Jamby Madrigal

Presidentiables told: Be ready for people power vs. GMA hold over presidency

By Gerry Albert Corpuz, Bb. Joyce Cabral and Billy Javier Reyes

MANILA, Philippines-The militant fisherfolk alliance Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (Pamalakaya) urged on Saturday all presidential candidates to sign a covenant calling for the staging of another People Power in case the Macapagal-Arroyo administration declares failure of elections or installs a hold over presidency through a coup instigated by pro-Arroyo faction in the military.

In a press statement, Pamalakaya national chair Fernando Hicap asked Nacionalista Party (NP) standard bearer Manny Villar, Liberal Party presidential candidate Benigno Simeon “Noynoy” Aquino III,Lakas-Kampi merger party Gilbert Teodoro, Pwersa ng Masang Pilipino bet former President Joseph Bagumbayan candidate Sen. Richard Gordon, Bangon Pilipinas’s Bro. Eddie Villanueva and independent candidates Sen. Jamby Madrigal, JC de los Reyes of Ang Kapatiran Party and Nicanor Perlas to declare their readiness for another people power and commit to mobilize their political forces and members to frustrtate Arroyo’s hold over presidency in whatever form.

“Are they willing to join the people for another People Power? According to the latest survey of the Social Weather Station, 48 percent of the 92 million Filipinos are likely to join any call for popular uprising that will frustrate President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo’s sinister plot to perpetuate herself to power,” the fisherfolk leader said.

Likewise the same challenged was posed by Hicap to vice-presidential candidates Sen. Mar Roxas of the Liberal Party, Sen. Loren Legarda of Nacionalista Party, Bayani Fernando of Bagumbayan, Edu Manzano of Lakas-Kampi merger party, Jejomar Binay of Pwersa ng Masang Pilipino and Perfecto Yasay of Bangon Pilipinas.

The Pamalakaya leader asserted the possibility of another People Power revolution in the Philippines is not a remote scenario according to political experts closely following the turn of political events unfolding two months before the May 2010 elections that include the Supreme Court decision allowing Mrs. Arroyo to appoint the next Chief Justice two months before the elections and the designation of Gen. Delfin Bangit as the new chief of the Armed Forces of the Philippines.

“If that is the case, then the 92 million Filipinos have no options but to take the streets for the third time around and stage another popular people uprising to frustrate President Arroyo’s attempt to perpetuate herself to power as a hold over president or chief of an installed civilian-military junta dominated by military generals loyal or associated with the party of Arroyo,” said Hicap.

Pamalakaya said the outrage expressed by political activists, lawyers, professionals and politicians opposed to the Supreme Court decision granting President Arroyo the power to appoint the next Chief Justice despite the constitutional prohibition and their opposition against the appointment of Bangit as new AFP chief is an indication that Filipinos are ready to go to the main capital for another People Power to effectively stop the ruling gangland in Malacanang from extending their terms beyond June 30, 2010.

Pamalakaya described the SC ruling as a major legal disaster and the appointment of Bangit and other rabid pro-Arroyo officials in various positions in the government highly revolting.

Pamalakaya advised President Arroyo to refrain from complicating things and instead do the most lawful, sensible and objective action that suits to the national interest and collective will of the people. It said the trouble with President Arroyo is her super obsession to stay in power beyond June 30, 2010 and the President is hell bent in appointing a Chief Justice that will follow the doctrine of Malacanang.#

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Only 3 presidential bets take up fishers’ issues—says group

By Gerry Albert Corpuz and Bb. Joyce Cabral

Manila, Philippines-

A boy presented a relief stub during Pamalakaya and Anakpawis' relief operations in Talim Island, Rizal

Leftwing activists belonging to the fisherfolk alliance Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (Pamalakaya) on Thursday said of the 9 presidential candidates, only three—Nacionalista Party (NP) standard bearer Sen. Manny Villar, independent candidate Sen. Jamby Madrigal and Lakas-Kampi merger party bet Gilberto Teodoro have taken up the issues raised by small fisherfolk.

Pamalakaya national chair Fernando Hicap said Villar was more interested in providing production subsidies and relief to small fisherfolk hit by rising prices of petroleum products and seasonal disaster, Madrigal focused on the particular fight against the privatization and conversion of Manila Bay and offshore mining in the high seas, while Teodoro offered his help to fast track the cleanup of Manila Bay in accordance with the Supreme Court ruling and the pursuance of Philippine claim to the controversial Spratly Island.

“The rest of presidential wannabes have yet to issue any official policy statement how they would solve the multifaceted problems in Philippine fisheries, while the 3 presidential candidates need to concretize and be more comprehensive in addressing the sorry state of Filipino fisherfolk and the fisheries environment,” the Pamalakaya leader noted.

Hicap said his group wants to hear from Villar, Madrigal and Teodoro, while at the same time strongly encourages the rest of the presidential candidates—Liberal Party presidential bet Sen. Benigno Simeon “Noynoy” Aquino III, Partido ng Masang Pilipino standard bearer former President Joseph Estrada, independent bets Richard Gordon, Nicanor Perlas, Bro. Eddie Villanueva of Bangon Pilipinas Movement and JC de los Reyes of the Kapatiran party.

Salvador France, Pamalakaya national vice-chair for his part, his group will stage the 2nd staging of Pamalakaya Fisherfolk Academy (PFA) next month, a presidential forum which aims to gather all presidential and vice presidential candidates in the May 2010 polls.

The forum which was first organized in the May 2007 elections for senatorial candidates, will ask all presidential candidates their respective stand and views on the fisherfolk electoral agenda which will be presented in the half-day forum.

The Pamalakaya official said among the doable demands their group will present to presidential candidates is the immediate and unconditional halt on all reclamation and conversion projects in Laguna Lake and Manila Bay, an indefinite freeze to demolition plans of fishing and urban poor communities along Manila Bay, Laguna Lake and other foreshore land areas across-the-country, the immediate recall of all offshore mining projects in Central and Western Visayas, Mindanao and Palawan seas, Northern Luzon and Bicol regions.

France said, Pamalakaya will also ask the presidential and vice-presidential candidates their position on proposals to abrogate the Japan-Philippine Economic Partnership Agreement (Jpepa) and the repeal of the Fisheries Code of 1998 and the approval of production subsidy law for fisheries that provide financial and material support to small fisherfolk to improve production and their standard of living.

Pamalakaya will also ask the commitment of presidential and vice presidential candidates that if they win, they will investigate highly questionable contracts and projects implemented by the Department of Agriculture (DA) including but not limited to the overpriced P 455 million ice making machine and the
P 7.14 billion agriculture funds which were missing according to the findings of the Commission on Audit dated December 2008.

Quoting the COA 2008 report, the Pamalakaya leader said a total of P 5.19 billion intended for farm-to-market road project were either missing or incomplete. France said the DA only spent P 1.3 billion or 38.99 percent of the total project allotment for 2008. Another big item, the P 1.3 billion fertilizer fund project under the GMA Rice Program was also bungled because local government units refused to participate in the implementation.

“The projects were reportedly incomplete. So the next question is where are the unspent funds? Are they really missing? Were they diverted or juggled to other highly questionable projects? What happen to the farm-to-market road project? Did it become farm to pocket (of GMA allies) road project?” asked
France.

Pamalakaya also took note COA’s other findings like printing of P 2.2 million fertilizer discount coupons which were rendered useless, the construction of mini-dams in Regions VIII, IX and XI built at a cost of
P 7.35 million but were rendered useless due to inferior construction, the construction of 11 Barangay Food Terminals worth P 1.55 million but only one was functional, and the remaining 10 were condemned due to operational deficiencies.

The same COA report described DA as notorious in purchasing equipment which are overpriced, not really needed or cannot be utilized or run by intended beneficiaries, adding that many of the equipment bought are unutilized, undelivered and now rusting in storage.

Pamalakaya said the earth shaking COA report should stop the national government and the agriculture department from buying 300 new ice-making machines to the amount of P 1.5 billion on top of the 98 ice-making machines which DA purchased in 2009 at an overpriced rate of P 4.6 million, 100 percent more of the prevailing industry price. #

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Militants to Loren: Slowdown on relocation of lakeshore residents

By Rey Manangan, Tootsie Roll Arcadia and Lollipop delos Reyes

Manila, Philippines- The lake wide fishers group Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (Pamalakaya) and staunch ally- the multisectoral alliance Save Laguna Lake Movement (SLLM) on Sunday said Senator Loren Legarda should slowdown on her proposal to relocate tens of thousands of fisherfolk and residents of lakeshore towns, including alleged illegal settlers at the mouth of the lake.

Pamalakaya and SLMM added this might be exploited by the Laguna Lake Development Authority (LLDA) which had programmed the conversion of the lake for private use and profit-driven activities at the expense of lake people and the environment.

Pamalakaya national chair Fernando Hicap said his group wanted to get in touch with Legarda, who chairs the Senate oversight committee on climate change, after they learned that she already agreed with LLDA General Manager Edgar Manda on the immediate relocation of residents without conducting first a public consultation with the affected people.

“We are aware of the honest and noble purpose of Sen. Legarda, her concern for the people and the environment, but the good senator should first consult the people, learn and understand their collective interest and current sentiment on the proposed relocation before subscribing to the suggestion of Mr. Manda, who is known in the Laguna Lake community as lapdog of big business, a certified puppet of the Office of the President, and a public official with cruel intentions against the people,” the Pamalakaya leader said in a press statement.

Legarda who ran in the 2004 election for vice-president and 2007 in the senatorial election was endorsed and supported by Pamalakaya for her outstanding advocacy on environment, peace talks and her gallant cause against the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA).

“To set the record straight, we have (been) anticipating the senator’s invitation for us to appear in the hearing of the Senate oversight committee on climate change, but up to now, no invitation was sent to our national office. Perhaps in the next hearing, the good senator will invite us to hear and know the real score coming from the lake folk and not from Mr. Manda alone,” Hicap added.

On Saturday, Sen. Legarda and Manda conducted an ocular inspection of the lake whose water level at the height of tropical storm Ondoy reached 14.5 meters from its normal level of 12.5 meters. She and the LLDA chief reached the poor community after inspecting flooded areas along Pasig River from Guadalupe in Makati City to Pasig.

Legarda said the LLDA had repeatedly warned the Lupang Arenda, a community of shanties built along the banks of the lake in Taytay, Rizal, was permanently at risk of flooding at every abnormal rise of the water level. She said the residents and the government should agree on permanent relocation site.

As many as 100,000 households in Lupang Arenda, Cainta and Pasig have been displaced by the abnormal rise in lake’s water level but Lupang Arenda residents have resisted relocation, telling LLDA that they had been paying fees to the National Housing Authority for a permit to stay in the reclaimed area.

Yesterday, Pamalakaya attended a meeting of calamity victims in Muntinlupa where tens of thousands of lakeshore residents and fishermen are still submerged in deep waters. The consultation among fisherfolk and residents was called by Bayan-NCR and the Muntinlupa chapters of party list groups—Bayan Muna, Gabriela, Kabataan Party and Akap-Bata.

During the consultation, Pamalakaya information officer Gerry Albert Corpuz explained that the immediate cause of continuous flooding was the permanent closure of Napindan Hydraulic Control Structure (NCHS), a flood support structure, the prevented excess waters of Laguna Lake to flow into Pasig River on its way to Manila Bay.

“The people there are open for relocation provided that the following requirements will be addressed by the national and local governments—on city relocation that will provide decent mass housing for calamity victims, provisions for comprehensive rehabilitation projects and social services and the immediate yet productive creation of jobs for thousands of displaced residents,” he said.

According to Corpuz, Bayan-NCR and local chapters of progressive party list groups and urban poor organizations today will conduct a fluvial parade in Muntinlupa, that will include distribution of relief goods to several calamity stricken villages and clean up.

“Bayan-NCR and the people in the lakeshore side of Muntinlupa are doing their very best to address the immediate needs and demands under Kilusang Bayanihan movement. Sen. Legarda should involve them in the current hearing of her committee on climate change. They can speak on the matter more than Mr. Manda,” the Pamalakaya information chief added.

Earlier, Pamalakaya and Save Laguna Lake Movement urged leaders of the Philippine Senate and the House of Representatives to also prioritize the legislative inquiry on Laguna Lake which is still under 14.5 meter deep since tropical storm Ondoy hit the country on Sept.26.

“Today is Oct.18 or about 22 days since storm Ondoy turned Laguna Lake into a virtual water world. Do we need 40 days before Congress takes up an inquiry on the ill-fated 90,000 hectare lake? Excuse us, but Laguna Lake, its people and environment are not dead entities waiting for 40-day ritual,” the groups said.

Pamalakaya added: “Let me remind our lawmakers that 30 towns and cities of Rizal and Laguna provinces and the National Capital Region were swallowed by Laguna Lake at the height of storm Ondoy affecting 2.2 million out of the 6 million fisherfolk and lake shore population. But the investigation is not moving as if the issue on hand is just a dime-a-dozen concern”.

The groups noted that only a handful of lawmakers agreed to their proposal for an all-out investigation on the current state of Laguna Lake. They are Senators Jamby Madrigal and Legarda in the Senate, Muntinlupa Rep. Ruffy Biazon and militant party list lawmakers Satur Ocampo, Teddy Casino and Neri Colmenaras of Bayan Muna, Luzviminda Ilagan and Liza Maza of Gabriela Women’s Party, Raymond Palatino of Kabataan Party and Rafael Mariano and Joel Maglunsod of Anakpawis party list.

“The Senate has 23 senators and the House of Representatives has 255 congressmen. But only a few good men and women managed to rise above the occasion. It is not too late for the leadership of both Houses and their peers to come to their senses and start the ball rolling on Laguna Lake catastrophe,” added Pamalakaya.

The lake-based groups said Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile and House Speaker Prospero Nograles should discourage members of the Senate and the House from going into vacation or abroad and instead call for special sessions that will look into the impacts of storm Ondoy and typhoon Pepeng and root the causes of the twin catastrophe that plagued the almost entire island of Luzon. Both houses are set to have their recess on Oct.15.

“No more foreign trips please, and the lawmakers should continue their legislative work by pursuing these investigations in aid of legislation and by going back to their respective districts and find out the needs of their devastated constituents,” Pamalakaya added.

Prior to typhoon Ondoy, Pamalakaya and SLLM asserted that towns and cities surrounding the lake were already flooded. The groups attributed the flooding to the closure of the NCHS that prevented excess waters of Laguna Lake from passing through Pasig River on its way to Manila Bay. Both groups said at the height of typhoon Ondoy, the Napindan channel was still closed impounding more waters to the lake and later spilled to 30 towns in Rizal, Laguna and Metro Manila.

The Social Action Center of San Pablo City in Laguna said the mass flooding affected 20 towns of Laguna, excluding several towns in Rizal province and had displaced around 750,248 people mostly fisherfolk, farmers and urban poor.

The most affected towns are the towns of Binan where 45,125 families or 198,700 people were displaced, followed by San Pedro (25,606 families or 153,636 people affected), Sta.Cruz (20, 498 families or 102,590 people displaced) Sta. Rosa (14,951 families or 77,052 people displaced), Cabuyao (7,670 families or 46,001 persons affected), Calamba (8,024 families or 33, 819 people affected) and Los Banos (5,496 families or 29,730 people displaced.

Pamalakaya and SLLM suggested the following names and offices to be invited or subpoenaed for the congressional inquiry, whether separate or joint congressional inquiry.

Their list includes environment Secretary Joselito Atienza, Laguna Lake Development Authority (LLDA) General Manager Manda, the governors of Rizal and Laguna provinces, mayors and local government officials of affected 30 towns and cities surrounding the lake, the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH), the National Economic Development Authority (NEDA), the officials of Board of Investment (BOI), the National Disaster Coordinating Council (NDCC) and the Office of Executive Secretary Eduardo Ermita to represent President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo. #

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Fishers ready to face off with execs on Laguna Lake flooding

SENATE HEARING ON OCTOBER 9
Fishers ready to face off with execs on Laguna Lake flooding

By Billy Javier Reyes, Gerry Albert Corpuz and Rey Manangan

Binangonan, Rizal- Leaders of the left-leaning fisherfolk alliance Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (Pamalakaya) will come in full force on October 9, the date the Senate Committee on Environment chaired by Senator Jamby Madrigal will conduct an investigation on the alarming water level in Laguna Lake and the mass flooding surrounding Asia’s 3rd largest lake.

In a press statement, Pamalakaya national chair Fernando Hicap will lead the 15-man fisherfolk team who will act as resource persons for Laguna Lake and Manila Bay who will talk on the connection of reclamation projects in Laguna Lake and Manila Bay and their direct link to the mass flooding in Metro Manila and nearby provinces and the critical water level in Laguna Lake.

Aside from Hicap, other Pamalakaya leaders who will act as resource persons are Pamalakaya vice chairperson Pedro Gonzalez who will represent the Laguna side of Laguna Lake, Romy Antazo of Pamalakaya-Rizal and Save Laguna Lake Movement, Salvador France, Pamalakaya vice chair for Luzon and scores of local fisherfolk leaders from Rizal, Laguna and Cavite.

The Pamalakaya leader said his team is expected to raise the issue pertaning to the closure of Napindan Hydraulic Control Structures (NCHS) in Laguna Lake, which he blamed for the recent rise in the water level of the lake and the mass flooding of Metro Manila and lake town parts of Rizal and Laguna provinces.

The NHCS was built in 1983 to prevent or lessen the increase of salinity from Manila Bay and pollution from the Pasig River from entering Laguna de Bay during times of reverse flow. The NHCS is found on the confluence of Marikina and Pateros-Taguig rivers with Pasig River. This confluence is also the downstream endpoint of the Napindan Channel, which is the upper part of Pasig River that connects to Laguna de Bay.

Aside from preventing the reverse flow of Pasig River, the NHCS is also used for flood control. During the rainy season, most of the flooding along the Pasig River area is due to the increased water flow coming from Marikina River. The Manggahan Floodway in Pasig City was constructed to divert much of this water from Marikina River directly into Laguna de Bay. By also closing the NHCS during times of rain, the water is effectively dammed in Laguna de Bay preventing it from flooding the downstream portions of Pasig River.

Hicap said LLDA General Manager Edgar Manda and Environment Secretary Joselito Atienza are complicating the situation by endorsing the forced eviction of 100,000 lakeshore residents mostly small fishermen and poor people who have been living in Laguna Lake surroundings for generations.

“The forced relocation of 100,000 people is not the solution. The best thing to do is to open the NCHS, which has been closed by LLDA for years now. This is the best and most logical explanation why the water level in Laguna Lake is now at an alarming level. The situation merits the opening of NCHS and let the excess waters pass through Pasig River on its way to Manila Bay,” he said.

The Pamalakaya official said LLDA chair Manda and Atienza should exercise common sense in dealing with the flood problem in connection with the rising water level of Laguna Lake, instead of displaying extreme act of paranoia and going hysterical all over the public.

“What it takes is simple science and basic logic. Right now, the water level in Laguna Lake is higher than Manila Bay, and its only logical therefore, to allow it to be disposed on its way to Manila Bay by opening the NCHS,” Hicap explained.

In a press briefing yesterday at the headquarters of the National Disaster Coordinating Council (NDCC), LLDA chair Manda said typhoon “Pepeng” will dump half of the rains that tropical storm Ondoy brought to the National Capital Region on Sept.26, the water level of Laguna Lake may break its all-time record of 14.62 meters, possibly sinking more coastal barangays in Metro Manila and Rizal province.

The LLDA chief made the projection to justify the removal of some 100,000 residents, specially those residing on the shorelines of Taguig, Cainta, Pasig, Taytay and Muntinlupa, in response to the preemptive evacuation called by President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo

According to Manda, the waters of Laguna Lake cannot easily pass through the Napindan Channel in Taguig into the Pasig River and then to Manila Bay because of some 25,000 informal settlers blocking the passageway. He specifically identified a community of about 25,000 families in Sitio Lupang Arenda—straddling Taguig, Taytay and Cainta.

However, Pamalakaya said the people of Laguna Lake should not be deceived by the latest escapade of LLDA general manager that his recommendation is meant to spare people’s lives from the wrath of typhoon Pepeng.

“Since he assumed the LLDA general managership, what Mr. Manda really has in mind is the forcible removal of 100,000 families along the lake so Malacanang could proceed with the reclamation of 5,000 hectares in Taguig, Pateros and Muntinlupa, where an international airport glamorized with high rise condominiums and first-class hotels will be constructed,’ the fisherfolk group said.

Pamalakaya also blamed the widespread reclamation in Laguna Lake as culprits to the sudden increase in the water level of the lake for the construction of road and dikes from Taguig to Taytay (9.8 kilometers), Bicutan to Taguig (9.5 kilometers), Sta. Rosa to Calamba City section (28 kilometers) Bay to Sta.Cruz in Laguna (32 kilometers), Siniloan to Kalayaan section (28 kilometers) and Tanay section (10 kilometers).

Pamalakaya also said aside from road and dike construction, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) and the LLDA will proceed with the additional reclamation of lake waters in Taguig (3,000 hectares), Muntinlupa (5,000 hectares) and Los Baños in Laguna (500 hectares), which the group said will further worsen the flood problem in the National Capital Region and nearby towns of Laguna and Rizal provinces because these reclamation projects will serve as obstruction to the natural flow of waters in the lake.

Pamalakaya theorized that LLDA chair Manda is using the calamity situation as trick to really evict lakeshore folks since that has been Malacanang and the authority’s grand design which is to remove lake people to prepare Laguna Lake for the grand takeover of big businesses, who are planning to set up big infrastructure projects like high rise condominiums and posh hotels along the lake’s coastlines.

Pamalakaya said Laguna Lake fisherfolk and residents living along the shorelines are survivors. Despite the abnormal rise in water level of Laguna Lake caused by typhoon Ondoy, small fishermen in 9 towns of Rizal and 18 towns of Laguna continue their day-to-day fish catch activities, leaving their families inside flooded houses and designated evacuation centers.

The group said there are 18,000 small fisherfolk families in Laguna Lake and they are found in 9 coastal towns of Rizal and 18 towns of Laguna Lake, excluding towns and cities in the National Capital Region like Pasig, Pateros, Muntinlupa and Taguig. The group said over 500,000 lake folk population are affected by typhoon Ondoy. #

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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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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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