Incoming Manila Mayor Joseph Estrada yesterday was asked by Manila Bay-based groups Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas, Koalisyon Kontra Kumbersyon ng Manila Bay, Anakpawis party-list, Sagip Manila Bay Movement and Save Freedom Island Movement to rescind an ordinance approved by outgoing Mayor Alfredo Lim allowing the reclamation of portions of Manila Bay.
Speaking in behalf of the groups, Pamalakaya vice chairman Salvador France said the former President now elected mayor of Manila should immediately cancel Ordinance No. 8223 allowing the city government of the premier capital and Manila Gold Coast to revive and proceed with the reclamation of 148 hectares south of Manila along Roxas Boulevard.
The fisherfolk official was referring to the Consortium Agreement signed between Manila Gold Coast and the city government of Manila on April 17, 2012, allowing the former to reclaim 148 hectares, including 12 hectares at the back of the Manila Yacht Club and Philippine Navy.
“Manila Mayor Erap Estrada is legally, politically and morally obliged to correct the wrongs of the past if he wants to save the city from death and destruction. The new administration must recall the ordinance and rescind the agreement between Lim and Manila Gold Coast in the name of public interest and environmental protection,” France said.
The Pamalakaya leader said the incoming mayor of Manila and the rest of the incoming elected officials of the city should be compelled to dishonor the pact and frustrate big business from destroying people’s livelihood and environment.
“Manila Bay remains a fishing area and a settlement for coastal people. It should be spared from big business groups whose objective in life is to earn huge profits from reclamation and construction of gambling and entertainment centers along the bay that needs comprehensive and genuine rehabilitation,” Pamalakaya said.
According to the group, the 148- hectare reclamation project is one of the 112 reclamation projects approved by the Philippine Reclamation Authority under the PPP (public-private partnership)-inspired National Reclamation Plan of the national government.
The plan involves the reclamation of 38,000 hectares of coastal areas all over the country of which 26,234 hectares are situated along Manila Bay from Cavite to Bataan coast. Pamalakaya said 13,000 hectares will be reclaimed from Cavite to Navotas, and another 13,000 hectares will be reclaimed encompassing the coastal areas of Bulacan, Pampanga and Bataan.
Pamalakaya agreed with observations raised by other environmental groups that the country’s annual fish catch is on a steady decline largely attributable to severe degradation of coastal and marine habitats with up to 98 percent of our coral reefs currently at risk, 75.6 percent of mangroves lost in the past 82 years, and 50 percent of sea grass beds lost in the past 50 years.
It blamed reclamation for the severe degradation of coastal and marine habitats is extensive reclamation.
Earlier, Pamalakaya and other anti-large scale reclamation groups had slammed the Commission on Elections for junking the writ of kalikasan sought by senator-elect Cynthia Villar and the more than 300,000 residents of Las Pinas against the Las Piñas- Parañaque reclamation project.
In its 48-page decision last month, Pamalakaya said the Court of Appeals (CA) ignored the people’s collective and legitimate interest of the Filipino people in favor of large-scale reclamation giants. This is an affront to national interest involving people’s livelihood, environmental protection and security from deluge like flooding and human disaster.
Pamalakaya, Anakpawis party-list and other groups said the CA ruling appears like gambling and exposing the lives of more than 300,000 residents of Las Piñas and another 300,000 residents of Parañaque to yearly flooding and environmental catastrophe due to flooding as predictable effect of large-scale reclamation, aside from the fact that reclamation has negative impact on the livelihood and community rights of nearly five million people, mostly fisherfolk and urban poor in nearby Cavite province and other areas like Navotas, Malabon, Bulacan, Pampanga and Bataan, all located and sourcing their livelihood from Manila Bay.
Tuesday, 21 May 2013 08:00 Published in Headlines
The Unyon ng mga Manggagawa sa Agrikultura (UMA) yesterday described the Department of Agrarian Reform’s (DAR) planned distribution of land in Hacienda Luisita by June 2013 a sham.
In a statement, Lito Bais, UMA chairman, said that which the DAR would really want and through the dictates of President Aquino is to preserve the Cojuangco and Aquino clan’s control of the land by distributing the land through the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program Extension with Reforms (CARPER) and encouraging diversified sugar block farming in the plantation.
“Other than bloating the master list of agricultural worker beneficiaries (AWBs) by almost a thousand, the DAR had sabotaged in May 17, 2013, the process for the planned auditing of the P1.33B share of the AWB’s in the sale of 580 hectares of land by Hacienda Luisita Inc. (HLI),” said Bais.
Bais noted that DAR denied the motion of all the parties that attended the activity to award the auditing right to Ocampo, Mendoza, Leung, Lim & Co. (OMLL) and to disqualify KPMG and Reyes Tacandong & Co. for being close to HLI and other Cojuangco owned firms.
“DAR’s main contention in denying the motions of all the parties concerned is that the Supreme Court (SC) ruled that all parties should approve the selection of the auditing firm. This would be impossible to achieve if DAR insists that HLI is a party to the selection process even if it is the entity that would be audited. Most probably this would be elevated to the SC as DAR suggested,” said Bais.
In effect, Bais said there would be no need for DAR to solicit the assistance of different government agencies in soliciting support services for the agricultural workers, because the 1.33 billion (P214 thousand if given individually) that HLI owes them is more than enough to be used as capital for agricultural production as the peasant leader noted that DAR had already announced several times that what it would distribute would be less than what the SC ordered them which was 4,335 hectares of agricultural lands excluding the 580 hectares sold to RCBC and SCTEX. In fact, there is a pending motion to revoke the conversion order of the 500 hectares of land of RCBC and include this in the land to be distributed to the farmers.
“However, the DAR has up to now, ignored said motion,” he lamented.
Bais said that distributing the land based on CARPER would essentially preserve the Cojuangco and Aquino clans’ control of the land.
In CARPER, the beneficiaries would need to pay an amortization for 30 years and failure to do so in three consecutive years would result in cancellation to own the land. At the same time, the landlords would need to be compensated by the State based on the landlords’ sole valuation of the land.
“At the moment, the DAR has not yet announced how much the valuation of the land is. If this is less than what the landlords want, they can appeal this to a Special Agrarian Court then up to the Supreme Court. But Hacienda Luisita’s landlords should not be compensated nor should the farmers pay any amortization for it,” said Bais, adding that Luisita should be given back to the farmer beneficiaries based on historical records that prove that these should have been given back to them since 1967.
As a journalist whose main responsibility is to deliver news, it is not unusual for us to offend someone in our line of work, as news, no matter how truthfully delivered, always tends to hurt someone.
But in my experience as a media practitioner, I have never encountered a subject who had to drive me away simply because he or she does not concur with anything I had written. And it is for this that I symphatize greatly with a colleague, Jeffrey Tiancgo of the People’s Journal who had the most unfortunate experience of being treated rudely by an appointee of our tuwid na daan President Noynoy Aquino.
According to Jeffrey, who is assigned to cover the beat of the Presidential Commission on Good Government, he was accused by PCGG chairman Andres Bautista of being a spy and was ordered banned from covering the agency right in front of other mediamen.
Jeffrey said the incident took place about two weeks ago when he tried to join an arranged interview with Bautista with a GMA 7 reporter and her staff.
The Journal reporter said he went to Bautista’s office with the staff and crew from GMA 7 for the program of journalist Malou Mangahas for an interview which had been facilitated and cleared by PCGG public information officer Nick Suarez.
According to Jeffrey, he was at the PCGG building lobby when Suarez was notified by the PCGG lobby guard on the presence of the GMA 7 staff asking for an interview with Bautista.
As his journalistic instinct got the better of him, Jeffrey said he talked to the crew of GMA 7 asking them and Suarez himself if he could join the group for the interview with Bautista to which the group and the information officer acceded.
When Bautista suddenly sprung out from his office, Jeffrey said the PCGG chair was eager to grant the interview right then and there but the GMA crew requested him that the interview be conducted in his office.
However, when Jeffrey asked Bautista if he could join the interview, he said the PCGG chair replied jestingly, “Huwag na... Huwag na.”
Thinking it was a joke as Jeffrey claims he had been exchanging jokes with the PCGG chairman since, he went on to join the GMA team only to be surprised by Bautista’s rude treatment.
“Huwag ka na...huwag ka na,” Tiangco qoute Bautista as saying in asking the Journal reporter to leave his office.
“I thought he was still joking but then I sensed he was already serious so I asked him if he was banning me from covering PCGG,” Jeffrey confided.
Thus he was shocked when Bautista retorted, “If that is how you see it... I’m telling you that I am not comfortable with your presence... as if you are spying on us and you are eavesdropping.”
Jeffrey said he tried to reason with Bautista but the PCGG chairman was unmoved even telling him, “Kahit dalhin mo ang mga editor mo dito.”
Just what is Bautista’s problem? If he can’t take criticisms or negative reports coming from journalists, then he has no place in the bureaucracy! A government office is the last place for any onion-skinned person like Bautista.
And to think that Jeffrey even swears Bautista had never been at the receiving end of his keyboard!
But even assuming he got offended by an article written by Jeffrey, it was all in furtherance of his work as a journalist. Nothing personal. Trabaho lang.
Anyway, Jeffrey’s experience actually does not come as a surprise anymore. Some time back, a former Tribune reporter was also banned from covering Malacañang press conferences mainly because the Tribune is critical of this administration.
Hence, Bautista has every reason to act that way and be arrogant as his boss also is. Let’s just see if they could keep their arrogance when they step down from office three years from now.
22-05-2013 Ninez Cacho-Olivares
Sixto Brillantes and his commissioners in the poll body...
ALGIERS — Official silence about the health of Algeria’...
22-05-2013 Herman Tiu Laurel
For 27 years the country’s three million or so coconut ...
KIEV — The sculpture shows two elderly people hugging e...
22-05-2013 Aldrin Cardona
First, Grace. Her victory in her first try at a Senate...
22-05-2013 Dinah S. Ventura
I was watching National Geographic’s new series on the ...
Law enforcers deployed near the known family …
Believing in false hopes, ZTE-NBN whistle-blo…
Clad in police camouflage and armed with high…
A billionaire once again, is the status of th…
Losing Team PNoy senatorial candidates Ramon …
The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) on M…
Judges who refused to issue warrant for the p…
In defiance of the Commission on Elections (C…
The recently-concluded mid-term elections, wh…
With a hefty amount of P600 million allocatio…