Dozens of fishermen from the town of Rosario, Cavite temporarily stopped work on Tuesday to protest against dredging and reclamation activities that disrupted their livelihood.
They lamented that their traditional fishing grounds, which is the sea near the coastal barangay of Wawa, does not have fish anymore.
This is due to dredging activities around the area that stretch all the way to Manila Bay.
According to fishermen group Pamalakaya, they don't get enough catch in these seas anymore.
"Sa dalawang taon ng reclamation, nasa 70% na ng huli ng maliliit na mangingisda ang nawala. Hirap talaga sila. Kung tatanggalan kabuhayan mangingisda malapit sa kanilang komunidad, bibigyan ng teknolohiya, hindi yun solusyon," said Fernando Hicap, national president of Pamalakaya.
This forced fishermen to sail in farther parts of the sea, near the vicinity of Mindoro and Bataan.
However, this takes a toll on gasoline and other expenses.
Fisherman Jessie Cabaña, for example, only earned P100 after fishing overnight near the coast of Bataan.
"Dating tinitirhan ng mga isda, wala na, burak na. Isda nalayo na. Tulad kagabi sa Bataan, kita namin P2,200, ang gastos namin P1800. Hinati hati ko (yung natira), nasa tig-isang daan na lang kami. Wala nang parte yung bangka," Cabaña said.
Fishermen groups have long opposed reclamation, saying it has severely destroyed marine ecosystems in Manila Bay, which is a big source of food.
Environmental groups also supported the protest.
"Yung biodiversity, coastal ecosystems natin, apektado dito, kita naman sa Cavite dapat malinaw na tubig, marami na pwede hulihin, sa ngayon wala na dahil sa dredging. Mismong pagtambak, nakaka alter ng ecosystems, may mangroves na napuputol, ibang klase na species ang nawawala," said Jon Bonifacio of the Kalikasan People's Network for the Environment.
Prior to this, several civil society groups also launched the Tigil Tambak and Save Manila Bay campaigns.
The Philippine Reclamation Authority declined to comment as they have no operations yet in Rosario, Cavite.
But in earlier interviews, the PRA said they have consulted various sectors such as fisherfolk, before the reclamation projects were approved.
The BFAR also had dialogues with fishermen to address their concerns.