100 fisherfolk stage fluvial protest against Manila Bay dredging
MANILA, Philippines — At least 100 fisherfolk under the group Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (Pamalakaya) held a fluvial protest in Cavite to demand an end to dredging activities in the southern portion of Manila Bay.
According to a statement from Pamalakaya, 50 fishing boats sailed along the municipal waters of Rosario, Tanza, and Noveleta in Cavite.
The fishing organization said the fisherfolk came from several coastal towns affected by the dredging, protesting the operations that have negatively impacted their way of life.
“Napakalaking perwisyo na ang idinulot ng dredging sa mga mangingisda sa Cavite. Hindi na dapat hayaang madagdagan pa ang lawak ng pinsala nito sa kalikasan at sa kabuhayan ng mga maliliit na mga mangingisda sa lalawigan,” Pamalakaya National Chairperson Fernando Hicap said in a statement.
(The dredging activities have already caused significant harm to fishers. It must not be allowed to damage further the marine life and the livelihoods of small-scale fisherfolk in the province.)
According to Pamalakaya, the dredging activities inflicted substantial and irreparable harm on the marine ecosystem in Manila Bay, leading to a decline in fish stocks.
Moreover, the fisherfolks restated throughout the demonstration its demand for the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) to revoke the environmental permits it had previously given to San Miguel Corporation and the Dutch firm Royal Boskalis Westminster N.V. for their destructive dredging activities in Manila Bay.
“Sa isa sa mga pag-aaral nito, mismong ang DENR na ang nagsabi na masagana pa sa bahura ang katimugang bahagi ng Manila Bay, partikular sa lalawigan ng Cavite. Kung kaya’t nakapagtataka na inaprubahan at patuloy na pinahihintulutan ang mga mapanirang proyektong ito,” Fernando Hicap, Pamalakaya national chairperson stated.
(In one of its own studies, the DENR itself said that the southern part of Manila Bay, mainly the province of Cavite, is still rich in coral reefs. So, it baffles us that they greenlit and continue to allow these destructive dredging projects.)
Hicap said that the number of dredge vessels in Rosario had been reduced from three to one due to the fisherfolk’s “sustained and consistent push backs” against the dredging operations during the previous few weeks.
The fisherfolks leader noted that the protests won’t end until the dredging operations are entirely halted and the businesses responsible for the damaging operations make reparations for the harm they have done to the coastal ecosystems and the livelihoods of fishermen. – Kimberly D. Albaño, INQUIRER.net intern