Group to launch nat’l confab on land reclamation in UP Diliman
OVER a hundred fisher folk and community leaders, concerned scientists, professionals and environmental advocates are expected to gather this October 24–25 to convene the first ever People’s Summit on the Impacts of Reclamation at the College of Science Auditorium in the University of the Philippines-Diliman.
Bearing the theme “National Reclamation Plan for What, for Whom?”, organizers of the summit aim to engage grassroots leaders and technical experts for a critical study of the National Reclamation Plan (NRP), the country’s roadmap for land reclamation development, and its environmental and socio-economic impacts.
“Land reclamation projects are environmentally critical and should have undergone rigorous assessment and serious consultations with various stakeholders. The organizers of the People’s Summit on the Impacts of Reclamation are concerned, however, with the NRP’s various irregularities in project approval, and the lack of genuine consultation, appropriate risk impact assessment and transparency,” said Leon Dulce, spokesperson of the Kalikasan Party-list, one of the summit’s organizers.
The NRP encompasses 38,000 hectares of foreshore areas home to fragile coastal and marine ecosystems, 70 percent of which is in Manila Bay that covers several coastal towns and cities of Metro Manila, Southern Tagalog and Central Luzon. Outside Manila Bay, the NRP also covers areas in Davao Gulf in Southern Mindanao, the Cagayan Special Economic Zone, Albay Gulf, Iloilo, Negros Occidental, Panay, Aklan, Leyte, Cebu, Bohol and Antique, among others.
“Aside from the destruction of mangroves, coral reefs and other important coastal ecosystems, increased risks of flooding are also anticipated in coastal areas that will be affected by the expansion of reclamation. These impacts are expected to be scaled up to the national level by the NRP,” Dulce added.
Fisherfolk leaders from reclamation-affected provinces will be sharing community experiences and lessons in opposing destructive reclamation projects. Experts on the environmental, engineering, socio-economic and legal aspects of reclamation have also been invited to share their studies and analyses.
“Consolidating the knowledge and experiences of scientists and communities is a critical step towards forging a national response to Land Reclamation. Participants have much to learn from the successful people’s campaigns in Cordova, Cebu and Panglao, Bohol, and the continuing legal remedies pursued against the impending reclamation project in the Las Pinas-Paranaque Critical Habitat and Ecotourism Area,” said Dulce.
Also in the roster of the Summit’s organizers are the Center for Environmental Concerns-Philippines, fisherfolk alliance PAMALAKAYA Pilipinas, Institute of Environmental Science and Meteorology in UP Diliman, Kalikasan People’s Network for the Environment, Alliance for Stewardship and Authentic Progress, Advocates of Science and Technology for the People, Philippine Earth Justice Center and the Central Visayas Fisherfolk Development Center Inc.