To mark the World Environment Day on June 5, fisherfolk from Navotas led by Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (PAMALAKAYA) held a protest action along the coastal community of Brgy. Tangos in Navotas City to oppose the impending reclamation for the Navotas Boulevard Business Park (NBBP) project.
NBBP is a 650-hectare reclamation project that extends from the Navotas Fishport in the south and Brgy. Tangos to the north in which the area is bounded between Binuangan River and Tangos River. The project is under the National Reclamation Plan (NRP) of the Philippine Reclamation Authority (PRA) and is intended for mixed use.
According to PAMALAKAYA and Kalipunan ng Damayang Mahihirap (KADAMAY) Metro Manila, the project would displace 20,000 fisherfolk and urban settlers across four barangays in Navotas City.
“We urge the local government of Navotas and President Rodrigo Duterte to put this destructive project on stop. This project violates the economic and civil rights of the fisherfolk who will be displaced from their fishing community,” said PAMALAKAYA Chairperson Fernando Hicap in a statement.
In a telephone interview, KADAMAY Metro Manila Spokesperson Danmer Cayabyab echoed the call against the possible demolition of homes.
“The planned reclamation and demolition should not continue because the fisherfolk and urban poor rely on the bay for their livelihood,” said Cayabyab.
He further stated that aside from the families that will be displaced, fresh and inexpensive fish from the fishing grounds of Navotas would also become unavailable.
Markers and fences were already being installed along the shores of Brgy. Tangos in preparation for the said project. The fisherfolk group feared that the fences would block their fishing boats from going offshore and limit their fishing activities.
PAMALAKAYA added that aside from the socio-economic impact, the NBBP will take a heavy toll to the already dying Manila Bay due to the destructive effect reclamation projects always bring.
“Manila Bay is already destroyed due to the unrestrained reclamation activities since the Philippine Reclamation Authority was created. The ongoing and pending projects under the National Reclamation Plan will further the degradation of Manila Bay,” added Hicap.
The group also called for the rehabilitation of Manila Bay instead of reclaiming the shorelines and creating projects that will affect the nearby community.
“Manila Bay is in dire need of genuine rehabilitation that will bring back its traditional use as fishing zone that will benefit the Filipino fishermen and not for eco-tourism and business hub,” said Hicap.