Pamalakaya storms BFAR, slams Manila Bay dredging, reclamation projects
MANILA, Philippines —The Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (Pamalakaya) fisherfolks on Friday went to the office of the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) to slam the dredging activities and reclamation projects in Manila Bay.
On Tuesday, the group told BFAR that they would be holding a conference on February 24, which is the 25th anniversary of the Fisheries Code of 1998.
According to the provincial coordinator of Pamalakaya Aries Soledad, dredging in Cavite is causing “significant harm” to the livelihoods of small-scale fishermen.
“We have observed several impacts of offshore sand extraction, including the disturbance and displacement of fish caused by the noise pollution from dredging equipment, the intensification of waves and tidal currents at dredging sites, incidents of fishing nets being caught along with the sand, and a significant reduction in fish stocks due to pollution and other stressors associated with dredging,” Soledad said in a statement.
In 2021, Silverquest Mining Resources Inc. received their seabed quarrying permit from the Department of Environment and Natural Resources, said Pamalakaya.
This is opposed by the group, saying it involved dredging and establishing projects amounting to P12 billion, including the 318-hectare Manila Waterfront Project.
The group documented 187 reclamation projects in the archipelago, covering over 25,000 hectares of fishing waters; at least 30 were located in Manila Bay alone.
In a tweet on Friday, Pamalakaya said that a Cavite fisherman’s income dropped by 70 percent due to the adverse effects of dredging in the area.
“Sa Cavite, bumagsak ng halos 70 percent ang kita ng isang mangingisda dahil sa masamang epekto ng dredging, tulad ng pagkabulabog at pagtataboy sa mga isda, at paghigop ng dredging equipment sa mga lambat ng mangingisda,” Pamalakaya said.
(In Cavite, a fisherman’s income has dropped by nearly 70 percent due to dredging’s adverse effects, such as splashing and driving away fish and dredging equipment sucking in fishermen’s nets.)
Pamalakaya’s protest action focused on the oppressive provisions of the fisheries code, as well as the dire impacts of reclamation projects on the marine and fishing resources of Manila Bay. – Meralyn Melitante, INQUIRER.net trainee