News Southern Tagalog

Like a thief in the night: DENR OKs Bacoor reclamation project amid pandemic

More than 700 fishing and coastal families will be displaced for this redevelopment.

By Joaquin Gonzalez

Fishers’ alliance Pambansang Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (PAKAMALAYA) condemned the Department of Environment and Natural Resources’ (DENR) decision to grant an Environmental Compliance Certificate (ECC) to the City Government of Bacoor, which will permit the land reclamation project that will displace hundreds of families in the area.

In their statement, they explained that the decision will endanger the livelihood of coastal communities in Bacoor amidst the national public health emergency caused by COVID-19.

“Like a thief in the night. While the country is focused on containing the spread of the pandemic, the government, through the DENR still managed to grant an environmental permit to a reclamation project that threatens the marine life of Manila Bay and would displace hundreds of fishing and coastal families in Bacoor town,” PAMALAKAYA said.

PAMALAKAYA is an alliance of progressive fisherfolk groups in the country with over 100,000 individual members and 43 provincial chapters.

The 320-hectare Bacoor reclamation and development project had been proposed by the City Government of Bacoor under its mayor, Lani Mercado Revilla. The project will include five reclaimed areas along the coast of Manila Bay: four inland reclamation islands behind Manila-Cavite Expressway (CAVITEX) with an aggregate area of 90 hectares, and one outer island north of CAVITEX with an area of 230 hectares.

The project’s description report stated that it aims to create a unique identity for itself with well-planned, integrated and mixed-use development characteristics, address some of the city’s need for extra residential and commercial land, and to provide much needed community, high quality landscape and public open space to the people of Bacoor.

However, according to Anakbayan Cavite, this will bring environmental damages on the coastal areas of Bacoor. This will destroy the clam and mussel farms maintained by the fishermen, and the mangroves that prevent storm surges and flooding the area.

Additionally, PAKAMALAYA National Chairperson Fernando Hicap said that DENR’s decision was “an obvious turnaround” to its mandate in protecting the environment and that it is violating its very own program in restoring the ecosystem of Manila Bay.

“The interests of local political clan in Cavite and private businesses prevail over the interest of thousands of fisherfolk and coastal residents who stand affected by this destructive reclamation project. More than 700 fishing and coastal families will be forcibly ejected from their houses to give way for ambitious development project by Mayor Revilla,” said Hicap. [P]

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