Fishers, together with other Philippine-based environmental organizations, vowed to continuously defend and protect the Philippine marine and aquatic resources.
Fishers’ group Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (Pamalakaya) on Sunday, Sept. 11 aired its goal to further protect the country’s aquatic and marine resources against possible destructive projects, specifying their clear opposition against reclamation.
The goal was publicly aired anew when People’s Network for Integrity of Coastal Habitats and Ecosystems (People’s Niche), an alliance of local organizations pushing for coastal restoration, was recognized as one of the “coral champions” for working hard to protect oceans.
Among the organizations behind People’s Niche were Pamalakaya, Center for Environmental Concerns- Philippines, Institute of Environmental Science and Meteorology - University of the Philippines Diliman, Advocates of Science and Technology for the People, Kalikasan People’s Network for the Environment, Kalikasan Partylist, Alliance for Stewardship and Authentic Progress, Philippine Earth Justice Center, as well as Central Visayas Fisherfolk Development Center Inc.
For Pamalakaya National Chairperson Fernando Hicap, the recognition affirmed the “validity” of their struggles in protecting fishing communities as well as the country’s waters.
“Filipino fishers are the very first to promote a balanced and sustainable marine ecosystem in the name of protecting the environment and all lives that fundamentally rely on it,” said Hicap.
Pamalakaya has been actively airing its science-based opposition against reclamation projects in the Philippines, such as that in Manila Bay, reiterating that these activities bring harm not only to the environment but also to the people.
Instead of reclamation, Filipino fishers previously recommended the reforestation of mangroves in Manila Bay. Mangroves are known for its ability to provide nursery grounds for fish and prawns and also its potential to protect coastal areas and communities against storm surges and tidal currents.