Environmental groups challenged President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. to sign an Executive Order halting Manila Bay reclamation projects, citing concerns over its impact on fishing communities and the environment.
Amid a joint Senate hearing on seabed quarrying and its environmental effects, several environmental organizations rallied outside the Philippine Senate on September 27, 2023.
Alyansa Tigil Mina urged the Senate to ask Marcos Jr. “to issue an executive order formalizing his August 9 announcement that reclamation projects in Manila Bay are suspended”.
Jaybee Garganera, national coordinator of the group, said despite the president’s announcement suspending the Manila Bay reclamation projects, “we still observe an increase in sand mining, river dredging and seabed quarrying in Cagayan, Zambales, Bataan, and Cavite”.
“These activities appear to provide filling materials for Manila Bay reclamation projects,” he said.
In a position paper submitted before the Senate, the anti-mining group noted that fisherfolks were not consulted before quarrying operations began.
The group also requested the Senate’s involvement in including regular people, coastal residents, and community groups in the monitoring of environmental activities.
Garganera said those responsible for the environmental problem, including companies that supported it, must be held accountable.
The group called for a permanent cessation of seabed quarrying and reclamation operations, saying these activities harm fishing areas and cause hunger and difficulties for nearby communities.
“We want everyone to know that we oppose the digging taking place in San Nicholas Shoal Cavite and other areas. We also want to emphasize the need for projects that do not harm our food supply, especially considering the challenges posed by climate change,” said Garganera.