Why fishers’ group opposes Navotas reclamation plan

August 26, 2022 - 10:40 AM
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A fisherfolk federation expressed fear that a ban on galunggong would have adverse effects on local fishermen (File)

More than 200 mussel farms and fishing structures are scheduled to be dismantled in Navotas City, according to a fishers’ group.

This, as the local government plans to push through with its 650-hectare coastal bay reclamation project.  

Pamalakaya National Chairperson Fernando Hicap questioned the Navotas government’s denial of the renewal of the permit of the fishermen despite their compliance with the requirements. 

“Malaki ang pananagutan ni Mayor Tiangco sa mga mangingisda ng Navotas kung sakaling matuloy ang demolisyon ng kanilang mga tahungan,” Hicap said, referring to current mayor John Rey Tiangco.

Pamalakaya said the Navotas Coastal Bay Reclamation Project would displace around 1,00 fisherfolks, workers, and mussel farm operators. 

“‘Di lamang pagkakait ito ng kabuhayan sa mga mangingisda kundi paglabag sa kautusan ng Korte Suprema na ibalik ang dating sigla ng Manila Bay.” Hicap added. 

In 2008, the Supreme Court issued a Mandamus that ordered 13 government agencies to clean up, restore, and rehabilitate Manila Bay. 

Hicap said that dismantling fish pens which plays a vital role in productivity and food security in the country, is not part of the High Court’s order. The same goes for the “destructive” reclamation project, he noted.  

The group has recorded around 50 reclamation projects across Manila Bay, covering over 30,000 hectares of its fishing waters.

READ: Fishers’ group urges DENR chief to take stand vs reclamation

Citing “environmental and socio-economic grounds,” Pamalakaya urged environment secretary Maria Antonia Yulo-Loyzaga to deny the Navotas Coastal Bay Reclamation Project an environmental compliance certificate.

The group said that reclamation is in “total contrast” to the Department of Environment and Natural Resources‘ mandate to protect the marine biodiversity of Manila Bay.

What is Navotas Coastal Bay Reclamation Project?

The Navotas Coastal Bay Reclamation Project, dubbed the “Southern Gateway to the Manila International Airport” in Bulacan by the Philippine Reclamation Authority (PRA), is envisioned as a “self-contained mixed-use community with industrial, commercial, institutional, residential areas.”

The proponent of this project is the San Miguel Corporation

In a video shared by Rep. Toby Tiangco (Navotas City), the project promises to provide 3,480 socialized housing, residential condominiums, parks, open spaces, public facilities, commercial areas, organized vendor areas, and tricycle and pedicab terminals. 

The coastal reclamation in Navotas is one of the four reclamation projects in Manila Bay given notices to proceed by the PRA in December 2019. 

Meanwhile, Palamakaya is scheduled to meet with DENR on Friday, August 26 to discuss the contested project.