Advocates express concern on rising number of reclamation projects in PH

Jose Carretero, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jun 05 2023 12:49 AM

Fishermen conduct a fluvial protest, calling for their welfare and livelihood amid an ongoing reclamation project happening in front of the Philippine Senate in Pasay City on February 28, 2023. Mark Demayo, ABS-CBN News
Fishermen conduct a fluvial protest, calling for their welfare and livelihood amid an ongoing reclamation project happening in front of the Philippine Senate in Pasay City on February 28, 2023. Mark Demayo, ABS-CBN News

MANILA -- Various environmental advocate groups on Sunday expressed their concern on the growing numbers of reclamation projects in the country.

PAMALAKAYA said it will elevate its concerns to the national scene and in time for President Ferdinand Marcos Jr.'s second State of the Nation Address (SONA).

"Sa 23, magkaroroon ng state of the fisherfolk at ng mamamayan na ang pangunahing dadalhin at panawagan ay 'yung pagpapatigil sa reklamasyon at ito 'yung tunay na state ng mga mahihirap sa ating bayan at ito ang ating dadalhing isyu na dapat sa ikalawang SONA ni pangulong Marcos ay ito ang pag-usapan at madeklara na ipatigil na at ikansela ang mga approved na mga application ng mga panirang proyekto ng reklamasyon sa ating bansa," PAMALAKAYA chairman Fernando Hicap said.

Groups of fisherfolk and environmental advocates also said that they will visit several parts of the country to advocate against reclamation projects before Marcos Jr.'s SONA.

Meanwhile, PAMALAKAYA added that it will also launch its campaign "Defend Manila Bay Network," which will focus on stopping the reclamation and dredging activities in Manila Bay.

PAMALAKAYA said that it wants to bring its concerns to the public's point of view that reclamation projects are not only seen in Metro Manila but also in places such as Cavite, Bulacan, Pampanga, and Bataan.

“Ang isa pang hotspot ng reclamation ay sa Cebu kung saan 10 'yung reclamation projects na tinatayo doon. Bukod pa doon, nakakalat naman ang iba pang reclamation projects... According to official PRA (Philippine Reclamation Authority) record, nasa 53 'yung mga projects na nilulunsad ngayon pero bukod pa dito 'yung illegal reclamation na nangyayari sa Laguna Lake,” said Jon Bonifacio, coordinator of Kalikasan People’s Network for the Environment.

Meanwhile, a manifesto was signed during a 2-day Anti-Reclamation Summit to further combat the reclamation projects.

Among the groups who attended the summit were some members of Save Gubat Bay Movement, who shared their stories of triumph in preventing reclamation projects in some barangays in Gubat, Sorsogon due to coastal road construction projects.

Even though they already achieved a win in their book, they said that they refuse to be complacent as several reclamation projects are still continuing in Sorsogon.

“Kami naghahanda naman para makontra ito, napakalaking epekto nito sa mga hanap buhay ng mga magingisda saamin lalo na mag-aalimango," said Ernie Gallardo of Save Gubat Bay Movement.

According to PRA's records, 24 reclamation projects are currently in place in the country but this might still increase as there are still 147 applications being processed.