Reclamation continues in Navotas City – fishers’ group

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, September 13) -- Dump-and-fill activities continue in Navotas City despite President Ferdinand Marcos Jr.'s order to suspend all reclamation operations in Manila Bay, a fishers group said.

The Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya (Pamalakaya) said in a statement that its members reported seeing vessels engaged in reclamation in Navotas on Wednesday morning.

It said according to fishers in the area, reclamation operations ceased following the president's verbal order last Aug. 7. However, daily operations resumed shortly after, with dumping activities even extending into nighttime.

"It’s been more than a month, and fishers deserve more than empty talk and hollow words, which obviously cannot stop these companies from destroying their livelihoods," said Ronnel Arambulo, Pamalakaya's vice chairperson.

"We demand him to immediately issue an official Executive Order completely terminating reclamation in Manila Bay and across the archipelago,” he added, referring to Marcos' verbal declaration.

The group has raised concerns over the effects of the activities, with Navotas fishers saying their daily earnings plummeted by 80% since a huge reclamation project started in the city.

"Starting September last year, the local government has been enforcing the removal of mussel farms (tahungan) and stationary fishing traps (baklad) in the area, which has adversely impacted over 1,000 individuals, including fishers, fish workers, and fishing structure operators," Arambulo said.

Pamalakaya said the removal of local businesses in the area was to make way for the 650-hectare Navotas coastal bay reclamation project, one of 22 such programs authorized by the Department of Natural and Resources (DENR).

RELATED: Reclamation projects loom in Manila Bay, what does this mean for the natural harbor?

On Aug. 10, the DENR clarified that all reclamation projects in Manila Bay have been suspended, contrary to the president's statement that one was allowed to push through.

READ: All reclamation projects in Manila Bay suspended, DENR clarifies