Group says land-reclamation activities persist in Navotas despite Palace order


Despite an order issued by President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. to suspend all land-reclamation activities in Manila Bay, dump-and-fill activities continue for a land-reclamation project in Navotas City, the Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (Pamalakaya) reported.

In a statement issued on Wednesday, Pamalakaya said local members of the group reported seeing vessels engaged in reclamation activities in Navotas on Wednesday morning. Pamalakaya also shared photos of the alleged ongoing land-reclamation near the shore in Navotas.

Days after President Marcos’ verbal order, officials of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) and the Philippine Reclamation Authority (PRA) said the order was dutifully enforced, reporting that all 22 land-reclamation projects are not allowed to operate pending the result of a cumulative impact assessment by the state environment agency.

According to Pamalakaya, upon inquiry, fishermen in the area reported that the vessels only briefly ceased operations following the President’s order last August 7, but immediately resumed after a few days.

The land-reclamation activity, they added, is being undertaken daily with dumping activities even extending until dusk.

Pamalakaya vice chairperson Ronnel Arambulo said they are expecting the President to issue an executive order completely terminating reclamation in Manila Bay and across the archipelago.

Navotas fishermen, meanwhile, complained their daily earnings have plummeted by 80 percent since the reclamation project began 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.

This is to make way for the 650-hectare Navotas Coastal Bay Reclamation Project, which is one of the 22 projects authorized with an environmental permit issued by the DENR.