The demolition of unlicensed fishing structures in the Cavite part of Manila Bay will push through in the next two weeks after the deadline given by the Department of the Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) for owners to dismantle these lapsed on Tuesday, September 7.
The local government units identified the following unlicensed fishing structures – including fish pens, fish cages, stationary lift nets, fish corrals, and mussel farms – for demolition:
- 271 in Cavite City
- 2 in Noveleta
- 97 in Kawit
The number of affected structures in Bacoor wasn’t available.
The DENR said the Manila Bay Site Coordinating/Management Office (MBSCMO) in Calabarzon will meet with the LGUs, Philippine Coast Guard, Philippine National Police-Maritime Group, Department of Public Works and Highways, and Philippine Navy on Wednesday, September 8, to finalize the schedule and deployment for the demolitions.
The DENR ordered the dismantling of unlicensed fishing structures in Cavite after bamboo poles drifted into the shores of Manila Bay following heavy monsoon rains in July.
MBSCMO-4 Deputy Regional Coordinator Cynthia N. Rozaldo said small-scale fisherfolk would benefit once illegal fishing structures are dismantled. She explained that most illegal fishing structures are owned by big industries, and small fisherfolk are forced to catch fish in the spaces between fish pens and cages, yielding little catch. They can go to farther areas where there are no big fishing structures, but they would have to pay for gasoline costs.
Rozaldo added that fisherfolk, who work for owners of illegal fishing structures, only get paid a fixed amount when they can earn more if they owned their fishing business.
The Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (PAMALAKAYA), however, considered the dismantling order “unjust and anti-fisherfolk.” It said this would affect 15,000 fisherfolk and residents who depend on Manila Bay for their livelihood.
The group also believe the move is a precursor to the 420-hectare reclamation project in Bacoor.
“The suspension of the demolition is an initial victory for thousands of fisherfolk who were about to lose their livelihood,” PAMALAKAYA said in Facebook post. “Yet we remain vigilant against any plan of the government to wipe out our only source of livelihood in the name of profit-oriented interests.” – Rappler.com