FISHERFOLK from Consolacion are seeking a dialogue with officials of the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (Bfar) to raise their concerns on the proposed 235.80-hectare Seafront reclamation project in their town.
Sought for comment, Consolacion Mayor Joannes “Joyjoy” Alegado told SunStar Cebu that while he welcomes the move of their town’s fisherfolk, he condemns alleged personalities who reportedly manipulated his constituents to oppose the project.
In a letter addressed to Bfar Undersecretary Cheryl Marie Natividad-Caballero, members of the Bagacay Fisherfolks Association and Bagacay Homeowners Association urged the agency to act on their concern as the proposed reclamation project could cause irreparable damage to the surrounding coastal areas.
Annabelle Pomento, who heads both groups, said the project was initiated by the Consolacion municipal government and La Consolacion Seafront Development Corp. (LCSDC).
“However, should the reclamation project push through, this will lead to irreparable damage to us low-income communities. In particular, fisherfolks and our aquatic resources will suffer due to the actions of Mayor Alegado and LCSDC,” Pomento said.
Pomento also quoted a study by FBS-Environment and Community Research and Development Services, a Cebu-based think tank focusing on environmental issues, which states that at least 500 fisherfolk from Consolacion, Mandaue City, Lapu-Lapu City and Liloan will lose their livelihood if the reclamation project pushes through.
She added that the FBS study also disproves Alegado’s claims that there are no more fish in the proposed reclamation area.
“The study by FBS also notes that on average, we catch 18 different species of fish that we eventually sell in the market,” she added.
Pomento said fisherfolk are among the sectors badly hit by the Covid-19 pandemic and the reclamation project is another threat to their lives, homes and livelihood.
But Alegado believes that his constituents are being coerced by some groups to protest against the project.
“But I believe that somebody else is instigating, confusing, misleading and manipulating these few people. These are the tactics and theatrics of the bigwigs who will soon have to leave the area after they have enriched themselves and have already destroyed our natural resources,” Alegado added.
Shipyard owners who stand to be displaced by the reclamation project suffered a blow last Nov. 12 when Regional Trial Court Branch 83 Judge Allan Francisco Garciano junked their petition to block the move by the Consolacion government, led by Alegado, to issue them business permits good only for the first six months of this year. The shipyard owners said they would appeal the decision