Fishers protest construction of sea wall in Cebu town
MedMap of CebuCEBU CITY, Cebu, Philippines — A group of fishermen has sought the help of an environment nongovernmental organization to address their concern over the construction of structures within the coastal easement zones in a village of Medellin town in northern Cebu after failing to get the government to act on their seven-year-old complaint.
Merdivina Tuico, the lead complainant, said some people who owned beach houses and establishments in Barangay Daanlungsod constructed sea walls and have closed the access to the sea, to the detriment of fishermen and other residents in the area.
“Our shores were heavily damaged because of the structures that were put up by the lot owners,” Tuico said in a statement sent to Oceana Philippines, a nonprofit ocean conservation organization.
“We, fishermen, as well as those who want to visit the shores to breathe fresh air no longer have clear access to the shores,” she added.
Tuico said they had raised this concern starting in 2016 and personnel of the Provincial Environment and Natural Resources Office had visited the place in the same year but the agency had not presented any result yet.
“Fishermen no longer have an area where they could put their pump boats. We hope our appeal will not fall on deaf ears,” she said.
Under Presidential Decree No. 1067 or the Water Code of the Philippines, building structures of any kind within a zone of three meters in urban areas is prohibited as this area is subject to the easement of public use in the interest of recreation, navigation, floatage, fishing, and salvage.
Easement zones are the minimum distance from bodies of water that should remain clear of private structures.
Analiza Rescuera, another complainant, called on the government to listen to the plea of fishers.
“We, ordinary people, have not been heard. Are the laws of the sea intended for the rich only? We hope there will be access roads leading to the shores and a place where fishermen can park their boats,” she said.
—ADOR VINCENT MAYOL
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