Bacoor reclamation plan questioned at Ombudsman

MANILA, Philippines – A fishermen's group filed a complaint before the Office of the Ombudsman against the reclamation plan of the Bacoor city government, saying it would violate environmental laws and displace fisherfolk families.

The group Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (Pamalakaya) filed last Monday, February 17, the complaint saying there is ongoing reclamation of fishponds and mangroves in the villages of Maliksi, which could damage the environment.

"It is dump-filling the fishponds with solid materials mixed with garbage and is threatening to destroy the remaining mangrove forests in the coastal town," the complaint said.

But in a statement on Wednesday, February 19, Bacoor City Mayor Lani Mercado Revilla said there are no ongoing reclamation activities, although there is indeed a reclamation plan.

She said the backfilling activities that the complaint referred to had been stopped.

"In October 2019, a cease and desist order was issued against private individuals who undertook backfilling activities in their properties at agad nang huminto sa kanilang ginagawa (and they immediately stopped)," Revilla said.

Pamalakaya also said reclamation would displace at least 700 fisherfolk families.

The complaint cited the Fisheries Code which states that public lands such as mangroves "shall not be disposed."

"The local government unit is religiously following the letter of the law so that the Bacoor reclamation project may push through in the future. The city government's proposed reclamation projects are still in the stage of securing our clearances from the Department of Environment and Natural Resources and permits from [the] Philippine Reclamation Authority," Revilla said. 

The mayor said she will respond to the complaint filed before the Ombudsman. – Rappler.com

Lian Buan

Lian Buan covers justice and corruption for Rappler. She is interested in decisions, pleadings, audits, contracts, and other documents that establish a trail. If you have leads, email lian.buan@rappler.com or tweet @lianbuan.

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