MANILA — Advocacy groups on Saturday warned that reclamation, dredging, and seabed quarrying activities have grave ecological and economic consequences.
Members of Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (PAMALAKAYA), Advocates of Science and Technology for the People (AGHAM), Kalikasan People’s Network, as well as members of affected coastal communities voiced the negative effects of the said activities during a rally in Mandaluyong City.
John Bonifacio, the national coordinator for Kalikasan People’s Network for the Environment, said building infrastructure on reclaimed areas subjects Filipinos living in the area to different hazards.
“Dun po sa reclamation ito pag tambak ng lupa sa coastal areas natin. Malamang mangrove ecosystems natin, sea grass ecosystems, nababaon dun sa lupa,” he said.
He went on: “Besides sa climate change. Ito ay natural barrier sa impacts gaya ng flooding, storm surge, natural barrier diya sa coastal ecosystem.”
The habitat destruction could significantly slash marine biodiversity consequently affecting the livelihood of fisherfolk as well as threaten food security.
“Nasa 700 pamilya nawalan ng kabuhayan at napalayas sa Bulacan,” claimed Ronnel Arambulo, PAMALAKAYA spokesperson.
“Dahil ang reclamation lahat ng dinadaan an ay pinapaalis anf mangingisda sa coastal. Iyan kabuhayan namin. Direktang may epekto ngayon mangingisda ay nakakaranas ng kagutuman,” he added.
Aris Soledad, provincial coordinator of PAMALAKAYA for Cavite, explained prior to the reclamation activities, fisherfolk in the region would earn about P15,000 weekly.
Currently, however, the income of fisherfolk shrunk to around P200 daily.
“Halos mag tatlong taon na ng pag hukay samin, ang results ay wala na mahuli mangingisda,” he said. “Mas konti nahuhuli. Dati Sagana sa huli coastal namin na bayan.”
Some fisherfolks, Soledad said, are forced to fish in other locations.
“Aming mangingisda sa navotas o sa ibang lugar kasi Wala na huli,” he said. “Wala na kami mahuhuli.”
According to AGHAM, an organization of scientists, “there are about 50 reclamation projects at various stages of development in the country as of September 2022.”
Of the number, AGHAM reported 24 reclamation projects have been approved, while the remaining 26 are still in the application stage.
The environment department has yet to comment on the issue.