The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) was urged to reject the P12-billion seabed quarrying project in Manila Bay being proposed by a company called Silverquest Mining Resources Inc. (SMRI).
The call was made by the national fishers’ group Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (PAMALAKAYA), following the SMRI’s move to apply for an environmental compliance certificate (ECC) for the said project.
SMRI wants to undertake seabed quarrying covering 2,124 hectares of municipal waters of Ternate and Naic in Cavite.
The project would also involve the dredging of mud, silt, sand, among other quarry materials for the 318-hectare Manila Waterfront Project, a reclamation project in the City of Manila.
In a statement, PAMALAKAYA warned that “dredging-related stressors” pose adverse environmental impacts to marine biodiversity and livelihood of small fishers.
“Dredging-related stressors such as movement of solid particles, habitat loss, discharging of toxic contaminants, and noise pollution inflict damage to marine biodiversity,” PAMALAKAYA National Chairperson Fernando Hicap said.
It can cause trauma and even death to fish species that thrive in the bottom of the sea. Consequently, it has a huge impact on the livelihood of small fishers who would endure a decrease of fish catch,” he added. Moreover, the fishers’ group said that the proposed seabed quarry should be “rejected and opposed” especially that it is a precursor to an “environmentally dangerous reclamation project” in Manila Bay.
“Reclamation has been widely opposed and proven environmentally disastrous by fisherfolk and even science and environmental experts. It must be a no-brainer for the DENR to reject this proposal as it obviously runs contrary to its mandate to rehabilitate Manila Bay and restore its waters for fishery resources development and recreational use,” Hicap further said.
“If this project acquired an environmental permit, then the DENR would only further expose itself as an anti-environment agency that never heeds the science-backed sentiment of the people. We are reminding the DENR that rehabilitating Manila Bay never includes seabed quarry, more so land reclamation projects,” he added.