Fishermen decry San Miguel’s reclamation project

A fishermen’s group yesterday scored San Miguel Corporation for its alleged arbitrary removal of mussel farms and fish pens in Navotas City to pave the way for its reclamation project.

The Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas has requested an immediate onsite investigation by the Department of the Environment and Natural Resources so it can see for itself what SMC reportedly did.

SMC, the group told DENR, was fast-tracking the dismantling of fishing structures as the private proponent in reclaiming at least 650 hectares.

The removal of the mussel farms and fish pens has deprived about 1,000 fishermen and fish workers of their livelihood, the group said in its electronic letter to the DENR.

The company has been offering affected owners “unreasonable compensation,” it added. Aside from the socio-economic effects, the reclamation poses a threat to the “fragile marine ecosystem and biodiversity of Manila Bay,” the group said.

Said reclamation project is in direct conflict with the Manila Bay Rehabilitation Program of the DENR, the group pointed out, noting a 2008 Supreme Court order to clean up Manila Bay and restore its waters to be fit for human recreation and the development of fishery resources.

The letter appealed to the DENR to conduct an investigation to assess the potential effects of the reclamation project on the marine environment, affecting the livelihood of the fishing communities.
A cease and desist order against SMC was requested by the group.

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