By MICHELLE SIMBUL
MANILA – Fishers’ group Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (Pamalakaya) said the appointment of Cesar Siador Jr. as the new general manager and chief executive officer of the Philippine Reclamation Authority (PRA) is inconsistent of Marcos Jr.’s pronouncement on stopping reclamation projects.
“Why the need to appoint a new head of the PRA when a suspension order on reclamation projects in Manila Bay is supposedly in place? This only shows that President Marcos Jr. is insincere with his order against reclamation, because aside from his pronouncement lacking an official written order, he has appointed a new set of leaders in a state-run agency primarily in charge of supervising destructive reclamation projects,” said Ronnel Arambulo, Pamalakaya vice chairperson.
The PRA, formerly known as Public Estates Authority (PEA), is one of the government’s agencies that primarily serves as clearing houses for all reclamation projects, including the reclamation project in Manila Bay.
“Fisherfolk and environmentalists have been demanding an executive order suspending, if not completely terminating, every single reclamation project in Manila Bay, not a new CEO of the reclamation agency,” said Arambulo on the appointment of Siador Jr. as the new PRA executive.
Siador Jr. is a mechanical engineer and served as regional director of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources’ (DENR) Environmental Management Bureau in Cagayan Valley.
“We are firm with our call that the PRA has to be abolished because of its major role in the massive destruction of marine and aquatic resources, as well as the displacement of fishing communities over the years. In Cavite, more than 700 fishing and urban poor families were already displaced to pave way for the 420-hectare reclamation project of the Frabelle Fishing Corp., while thousands of fisherfolk were ejected in Bulacan for the construction of an international airport,” said Arambulo.
Pamalakaya said this is inconsistent with Marcos Jr.’s administration’s verbal suspension order on reclamation projects in Manila Bay.
“Clearly the Marcos Jr. administration is failing to uphold the 2008-Supreme Court mandamus seeking various government agencies to clean-up, restore, and rehabilitate Manila Bay in the context of recreational use and fishery resources development,” said Arambulo. (JJE, RTS)