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Sangley reclamation plan for airport will destroy livelihood of 26,000 Cavite fishing families

The Cavite coastline as seen from CavitEX shows some bamboo poles where mussels are cultivated and gathered. VERONICA UY/InterAksyon.com

InterAksyon.com
The online news portal of TV5

MANILA, Philippines - The planned large-scale reclamation project in Sangley Point that would pave the way for the construction of international airport and seaport at the former US naval station would destroy the livelihood of 26,000 Cavite fishing families, a fisherfolk alliance said Sunday.

Salvador France, Pamalakaya vice chairperson and convener of Koalisyon Kontra Kumbersyon ng Manila Bay (KKK-Manila Bay), said 26,000 fishing families from Bacoor to Cavite City will be displaced from their main source of livelihood once Malacanang agrees with foreign investors and financiers of the Sangley Pt. Reclamation Project at the Cavite Peninsula. 

"Twenty six thousand fishing families or roughly 156,000 people will be immediately dislodged from their livelihood and communities and what the government will offer for survival of a lifetime is P 15,000 for each of the displaced family. People of the Philippines, we have a looming massacre of people, livelihood and environment here rolled into one courtesy of this great Sangley Point robbery by foreign monopolies," the Pamalakaya official said. 

Another group of fishermen, allied with the left-leaning fisherfolk alliance Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (Pamalakaya), said in a statement: "The large-scale reclamation project in Sangley Point will send the fishing villages of Bacoor, Noveleta, Kawit, Rosario, and Cavite City to the death bed of environmental catastrophe and destruction. The reclamation plan will kill the livelihood of tens of thousands of fishermen and other people dependent on Cavite's fishing for their day-to-day survival,"

Myrna Candinato, chairperson of the Pamalakaya-affiliated Alyansa ng Mandaragat ng Bacoor, Cavite Inc. (Alyansa), said Malacanang should shelve the project and instead think of better ways on how to resolve hunger and poverty plaguing all coastal areas and fishing villages of the province. "

An export-based industrialization program such as the development of Sangley Point into an international airport and seaport is not the right prescription for development. Why kill tens of thousands of fishing jobs, displace tens of thousands of coastal people, and sacrifice the fragile environment at the altar this transnational takeover?" Candinato asked. 

The plan

France said the Sangley Point reclamation project to be undertaken by the Philippine Reclamation Authority under the National Reclamation Plan (NRP) will be met with strong opposition from affected fishermen and residents. He said the people in coastal areas of the province have been informed ahead of the project and that opposition to the reclamation plan of the Cavite Peninsula is shaping into a big fight that will involve fishermen across the Manila Bay.

"We will involve the people from North to South of Manila Bay to fight this millennium sell-out of national patrimony to transnational giants. We will not allow this exportation of surplus capital by foreign monopolies to wreck havoc on people's lives and environment," said Pamalakaya. 

Last week, Wilson Tieng, chairman of Solar Group, and the lead local partner of All-Asia Resources and Reclamation Corporation (ARRC) consortium announced that a number of foreign investors are willing to finance the reclamation and development of Sangley Point into an international airport and seaport South of Luzon area. 

The ARRC, the local proponent of a proposed project to redevelop Sangley Point said foreign partners, mostly Europe-based, include Flugfahen Munich, operator of the Munich airport in Germany; Hamburger Hafen und Logstik, the biggest operator in the Hamburg port, also in Germany; the Italian rail company Ferrovie Circumvesuviana; power firm Isoluc Corsan; Deutsche Bank; COWI, Inros Lackner and GMP Architects; contractors Hochtief and Rizzani de Eccher; and Royal Boskalis Westminster, the lead reclamation contractor.

On January 10, the ARRC submitted its letters of intent to undertake the twin projects to the Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) and the Philippine Reclamation Authority (PRA), the renamed PEA, the agency that acts as the clearinghouse for reclamation projects in the country.

The ARRC proposal was “in response to the need to develop premier international gateways in the country, as well as Executive Order No. 629, Series of 2007, directing the PRA to convert Sangley Point in Cavite City into an international logistics hub with a modern airport and seaport through an enabling reclamation component.”

The Phase I of the airport project, is estimated to run from 2014 to 2018  and would involve the reclamation of 2,500 hectares on the flight line of the Atienza Air Base, the development of a 50-million-a-year airport terminal, and the first of two runway systems estimated to cost P56.2 billion and P45 billion, respectively, according to ARRC. 

It said the development of a 50-million-a-year passenger terminal is demand-driven based on the current 31 million annual passenger traffic in the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (Naia), the capacity of which is constrained by limited space.

In its letters of intent, the ARRC also proposed the “redevelopment of the Naia complex with the relocation of the Atienza Air Base to Runway 06-24 in the Villamor Air Base.” It also called for redevelopment of Naia 1 into a “greenbelt mixed residential area” between 2020 and 2025.

On the other hand, Phase 1 of the project also calls for the reclamation of 50 ha offshore of the Atienza Air Base with a budget of around P8 billion, and the construction of a 200-million-liter capacity bulk liquid port, estimated to cost P10.8 billion.

The ARRC said the development of the bulk liquid port is demand-driven, resulting from the proposed relocation of the existing 83-million-liter capacity of the Pandacan depot (in Manila), which supplies 70 percent of the shipping industry’s needs, 90 percent of lubricant requirements, 75 percent of all aviation fuel needs, and 25 percent of the demand for chemicals. 

Also included in the proposed reclamation and redevelopment of Sangley Pt. are the construction of the 17-kilometer Sangley-CavitEx to link the projects to the Naia complex; the 32.5-km Aguinaldo Light Rail Transit, using the alignment of the Sangley-CavitEX link to the Naia complex and Tramo to connect to the Metro Rail Transit Line 3 Taft Station; and an 8-km, four-lane, snake-shaped cable-stayed bridge linking the twin projects to Boulevard 2000. The bridge project alone is estimated to cost at least $2.3 billion, according to ARRC.

‘Dying Manila Bay’

“Reclamation will hasten the death of Manila Bay which is currently under the Intensive Care Unit and in full environmental comatose. That undertaking by design and by orientation, and by law is against the SC decision on Manila Bay. If President Benigno Simeon Aquino III and the PRA will not listen and will continue to subscribe to Sangley prescription of foreign financial oligarchs, then expect the grand destruction in Cavite," warned Pamalakaya. 

Pamalakaya, Alyansa, and KKK-Manila Bay pressed President Aquino to rescind the June 21, 2007 Executive Order signed by former President Gloria Macapagal- Arroyo. The groups were referring to Executive Order No. 629 directing the PRA to develop Sangley Point in Cavite City into a logistical hub with modern seaport and an airport, citing the R-1 expressway extension project as enabling component. 

Pamalakaya said the R-1 extension project resulted to diminished fish catch and destruction of remaining corals and mangroves in Bacoor Bay. The same Cavite road project is also being blamed for the flooding in Bacoor and nearby coastal towns in the province.

 

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