The government’s track for the new normal became more evident in the past weeks. Destructive operations have continued at the expense of small fisherfolk, and false solutions are being used to protect business interests.
The House of Representatives recently approved the bill granting a 50-year franchise to San Miguel Aerocity, Inc., a subsidiary of San Miguel Corporation, for the New Manila International Airport project. The project is expected to destroy 24.5 hectares of mangrove and 30 million pesos of fish production in Manila Bay and increase disaster hazards in Bulacan and adjacent areas. Hundreds of fisherfolk lost their livelihood and homes while experiencing worsened poverty in the midst of the COVID-19 crisis.
The House approval comes shortly after the Department of Environment and Natural Resources began implementing the dumping of ‘white sand’ which according to Usec. Benny Antiporda was crushed dolomites. The dolomite dumping serves as a false solution to rehabilitate Manila Bay and could even cause more environmental damages such as coastal erosion.
CEC urges the government to stop the dolomite dumping and the San Miguel airport city project. We call for a comprehensive Manila Bay rehabilitation plan be crafted with the genuine participation of the most affected stakeholders that will end reclamation, will hold non-compliant business corporations accountable, and will regard the health and rights of fisherfolk and residents.
Genuine environmental protection is an essential part of the better normal to help the country deal with COVID-19 and prevent future outbreaks. We encourage fellow Filipinos to remain vigilant of government programs, especially in these times when ensuring the health of every citizen and protecting the environment must be the government’s top priorities.