Fisherfolk chide DENR for its failure to rehabilitate Manila Bay

Published June 23, 2020, 12:00 AM

by manilabulletin_admin

By Ellalyn De Vera-Ruiz

A local fisherfolk group on Tuesday chided the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) for its”unfulfilled” job to rehabilitate the Manila Bay and protect its marine resources against reclamation projects.

Migratory birds wander in Manila Bay (Rio Leonelle Deluvio / MANILA BULLETIN FILE PHOTO)
Migratory birds wander in Manila Bay (Rio Leonelle Deluvio / MANILA BULLETIN FILE PHOTO)

“The health safety of people in Cebu City that has the highest cases of coronavirus is important to be addressed, but it lies on the functions of health officials and pharmaceutical interventions, and distant to the environment chief who is seen by various environmental organizations as ‘missing in action’ against projects that destroy the environment and biodiversity,” Pamalakaya national chairperson Fernando Hicap said in a statement.

The fisherfolk group said DENR Secretary Roy Cimatu should instead closely monitor the state of the Philippine environment, which is currently threatened by destructive projects, such as reclamation, mining, and construction of mega dams, among others.

Pamalakaya accused the DENR of granting an environmental compliance certificate (ECC) to the 320-hectare reclamation project in Manila Bay covering the municipal waters of Bacoor City, Cavite.

The group claimed the project, which was proposed by City Mayor Lani Mercado-Revilla and Frabelle Fishing Corp., threatens at least 700 fishing and urban poor families in the town with displacement.

Pamalakaya and the fisherfolk in Cavite in November, 2019, submitted a letter of complaint to the DENR against the reclamation project in Cavite, the Chinese POGO project in Kawit, the Sangley International Airport in Cavite City, and the Revilla-sponsored Bacoor Reclamation and Development Project.

The fisherfolk group said it has yet to receive any formal reply from the DENR.

“Secretary Cimatu should ensure that the Manila Bay is protected from any reclamation project and its fisherfolks who are considered as food security frontliners should not be displaced from their communities and livelihood,” he added.