Fisherfolk hold protest again vs. Seafront reclamation project

·2 min read

AT LEAST 200 members of fisherfolk from a coastal village in Consolacion town, northern Cebu conducted another protest on Sunday morning, November 7, 2021, to express their opposition against the proposed reclamation project being pushed by their local officials in partnership with a private consortium.

The protesters from Sitio Baha-Baha in Barangay Tayud gathered along the shoreline about 6 a.m., bringing with them posters made of colored cartolina where they expressed their sentiments against the 235.8-hectare reclamation project.

While they were unfurling their posters on the shoreline, the rains started to fall.

But instead of going home, the group stood their ground. They were joined in by fishermen from nearby Mandaue and Lapu-Lapu Cities who would also be affected by the project dubbed as Seafront City project.

To prove that the waters were rich in marine resources, they gathered shellfish and crabs along the shoreline since it was low tide at that time.

They then cooked and had these for breakfast.

The fisherfolk also signed a separate petition to President Duterte, asking the country’s Chief Executive to stop the reclamation project.

This was the third petition letter to be sent to the President.

The first was signed by at least 2,000 workers of at least seven shipyards that the municipality wanted to remove in order to take over their foreshore areas in favor of the reclamation project.

Residents in Tayud whose livelihood depends on the shipyard operations in the area also wrote a separate petition to Mr. Duterte. These residents included carenderia and boarding house owners and trisikad drivers whose customers were mostly shipyard workers.

This time, it was the turn of the fisherfolk in the village.

Sunday’s protest against the reclamation project was the second to be conducted in less than a month.

The first was on October 17, where about 50 fishermen from the neighboring Sitio Bagacay boarded their fishing boats and caught some fish to debunk the claims of Mayor Johannes Alegado and his mother, Vice Mayor Teresita Alegado, that there was no fish in the area due to the presence of the shipyards.

A study conducted by Dr. Filipina Sotto of the FBS-Environment and Community Research and Development Services, a Cebu-based think tank that focuses on environmental issues, also supported the claim of the fishermen, saying the area was rich in marine resources that included 75 species of corals and seven mangrove species.

She warned of irreversible damage to marine resources if the reclamation project would be implemented. (PR)

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