Pamalakaya warns against continuation of ‘environmentally-unnecessary’ projects in PH

Fishers’ group Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (Pamalakaya) warned against the continuation of ‘ill-conceived” projects, reiterating that the 2023 budget that will be granted to the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) should be used for “actual rehabilitation” of the country’s marine biodiversity.

(Fredrik Ohlander/ Unsplash)

In a press statement, Pamalakaya once again slammed the dolomite beach project in Manila Bay, calling it a “waste of public funds.” As the 2023 budget for DENR nears its deliberation, the fishers reiterated that it should be solely used for projects that will benefit the country’s marine biodiversity and Filipino fishermen alike.

“The proposed budget should be strictly scrutinized to prevent any unnecessary projects. We have to see to it that the budget intended for the management of Manila Bay will be used for actual rehabilitation and restoration of its marine biodiversity, not for some aesthetic coastal makeover,” said Pamalakaya National Spokesperson Ronnel Arambulo on Thursday, Sept. 1.

Pamalakaya, on Friday, Aug. 26, trooped to the DENR Central Office and protested against "destructive reclamation projects" such as that in Manila Bay. Fisherfolk representatives likewise tackled “genuine” rehabilitation projects with DENR officials on the same day.

Mangroves reforestation in Manila Bay

Among these genuine rehabilitation projects is the massive mangroves reforestation in Manila Bay. The fishers claimed that reclamation projects alone have destroyed hectares of mangrove areas in the bay.

“Mangrove areas in Manila Bay used to cover 54,000 hectares but they have significantly shrunk to 2,000 and at present, only less than 500 hectares is left,” said Pamalakaya.

The DENR itself, through its Mangrove Management Handbook, recognized the importance of mangroves highlighting that it does not only support fisheries production in coastal waters, provide nursery grounds for fish and prawns, but it also protect coastal areas and communities from storm surges, waves, tidal currents.