By Czarina Nicole Ong Ki
A letter complaint has been filed against Bacoor City Mayor Lani Revilla before the Office of the Ombudsman on Monday morning for pushing through with two reclamation projects despite violations these have made against environmental and fisheries laws in the country.
The Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya Pilipinas (PAMALAKAYA), a group of fisherfolk from Bacoor, wrote the letter to Ombudsman Samuel Martires, saying the two reclamation projects, covering 420 hectares, contradict several laws.
These include the 2008 Supreme Court mandamus to “clean up, restore, and rehabilitate” Manila Bay; Administrative Order No. 16 issued by President Duterte on Feb. 21, 2019; the Manila Bay Rehabilitation Program of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR); and existing environmental and fisheries laws in the country.
The first project is the Bacoor Reclamation and Development covering 320 hectares, and the second is the Diamond Reclamation and Development covering 100 hectares.
In the letter, the fisherfolk lamented that the ongoing reclamation activity of a fishpond located in Barangay Maliksi III in Bacoor, beside a public cemetery, is being done without signage of project details. As a result, they are questioning whether this is indeed a project of the local government.
Moreover, the dump-filling of the fish pond with materials mixed with garbage is threatening to destroy the remaining mangrove forests in the coastal town.
The group said the local government should have coordinated with the Department of Agriculture (DA) and Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) to improve the marine life and state of fishery production in the city.
In failing to do so, they said their livelihood is affected and is being destroyed.
“In the pursuance of genuine Manila Bay Rehabilitation and upholding of the socio-economic rights of the small fisherfolk of Bacoor City, we are submitting this complaint and are optimistic that the august Office of the Ombudsman [will] serve as a staunch defender of the environment, as well as champion of the wisdom of the 2008 Supreme Court mandamus against the profit-driven and anti-people development projects being pushed by the Bacoor City local government, particularly by Mayor Mercado-Revilla,” the letter read.