Probe on the dismantling of fishing structures in Navotas sought

Filipino fishermen, on Thursday, Sept. 15, requested for an immediate onsite investigation on the alleged dismantling of fishing structures for a 650-hectare reclamation project in Navotas City.

Fisherman (Pixabay)

Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (Pamalakaya), in a letter addressed to Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Secretary Maria Antonia Yulo-Loyzaga, complained against the 650-hectare reclamation in Navotas, reiterating that the project affects small-scale fishermen.

“Its private proponent, the San Miguel Corp. is already making efforts to have our mussel farms, stationary fishing traps, among other fishing structures dismantled,” said Pamalakaya.

The fishers’ group has been airing its opposition against reclamation projects in the country for a long time already, stressing that it does not only threaten the livelihood of Filipino fishermen, but also brings harm to the “fragile” marine ecosystem and biodiversity of Manila Bay.

Carrying this opposition, Pamalakaya urged the DENR to conduct an “onsite investigation to assess the potential impacts” of the said project to Filipinos as well as the country.

Apart from this, they likewise appealed for the issuance of a cease-and-desist order, highlighting that the 650-hectare reclamation project violates the goals of the DENR Manila Bay Rehabilitation Program.

Reclamation pertains to the act of creating a new land form in oceans, seas, and riverbeds. This particular project in Navotas, according to Pamalakaya, is for “mixed and commercial use.”

Previously, fisherfolk representatives tackled “genuine rehabilitation projects” with DENR officials.