Cavite Governor Jonvic Remulla, CHR urged to take action on the violent dispersal of fisherfolk in Maragondon, Cavite

January 13, 2022

Statement of the Center of Environmental Concerns – Philippines Inc.

We are calling for Cavite Governor Jonvic Remulla and the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) to take action on the violent dispersal of fisherfolk in Maragondon, Cavite. It was reported by Defend Southern Tagalog that on January 13, 2022 the Philippine National Police (PNP) opened fire on the residents of Barangay Patungan, Maragondon, Cavite where three persons were badly wounded. [1] One of them was brought by the PNP to their detachment. [2] In addition, around 300 members of the demolition team and PNP rounded up the other residents. The Philippine Coast Guard blocked other supporters of the fisherfolk as well as the media. It was reported that the demolition will be happening in a span of 3 days. [3]

No relocation site was presented according to the residents who were dispersed under Alert Level 3 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. [4]

This is the second attempt to demolish the homes of around 1,000 residents or 450 families that reside in the area claimed by Maria Theresa Virata of the MTV Realty Corp. who later sold the land to Henry Sy. [5, 6]  The residents said that Sy and the local government unit have proclaimed that the area will be developed as an ecotourism site. The first demolition attempt happened in 2016. [7]

Ecotourism is said to be a more sustainable form of tourism, with the environment and local community’s development and participation at its core. However, we are seeing as early as now the social costs of this project. Various human rights violations have already been committed, from the lack of community consultation, physical harm and the attempted displacement.

According to Save Patungan Now Movement, the community’s lawyer has already filed an Entry of Appearance with Consolidated Ex-Parte Motion to Defer Implementation of Writ of Execution asking to stop the demolition for at least two years to ensure that due process will be followed. This includes proper consultation of community representatives.

Vice Mayor Alfredo Anglo Berase recommended that a resolution be filed to the Sangguniang Bayan to declare a moratorium on the demolition in the Barangay [8].

We are standing in solidarity with the fisherfolk of Barangay Patungan who have for decades been active in the protection of coastal areas from projects that would threaten their access to the fishing grounds as well as their homes. The fisherfolk are the traditional stewards of the ocean, protecting their source of livelihood not only for their community but also for the other fisherfolk in the province. Amidst the pandemic, communities need support and not further loss of livelihood.

We also call for accountability of Mayor Reynaldo Rillo and the PNP who were involved in the demolition for the injuries of the fisherfolk, for the release of the injured resident from the detachment, and the pull out of armed personnel in the barangay.

#SavePatunganNow #DemolitionMoratoriumNow #DefendTheDefenders #StopTheAttacks