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writing for godot

Groups appeal to Catholic bishops: “Help us stop Pampanga Bay reclamation project”

Written by Noel Sales Barcelona   
Sunday, 17 June 2012 01:45
Manila — The Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (Pamalakaya) appealed to Pampanga Bishop Paciano Aniceto and to Malolos Bishop José Francisco Oliveros to stop the Pampanga Bay reclamation project, which will leave thousands of families homeless.

In a statement, Anakpawis vice chair Fernando Hicap said, the good Bishop should issue a pastoral statement on the alleged immorality of the “clean-up” project in the areas of Manila Bay, particularly in the Bulacan-Pampanga area, since it aims to demolish the fishing villages, in order to pave way to the conversion of the 2,500 hectare Pampanga bay area into commercial and residential use.

“Being church of the poor, the Roman Catholic Church and the other religious organizations as well must stand against this aberration,” Hicap said.

Meanwhile, Pamalakaya vice chair Salvador France revealed that 80 houses in Macabebe and 562 houses in Masantol, both in Pampanga and 12 houses in Hagonoy town in Bulacan had already been abolished and they are expecting the number of the demolished houses to increase as the Philippine Reclamation Authority (PRA) and other government agencies involved in the “clean-up” continue to push the public-private partnership project along the Manila Bay and the nearby coastal areas.

“The Supreme Court ruling pertaining to Manila Bay clean up and rehabilitation is being used, exploited and abused by the national government, its concerned agencies and local government units to effectively demolish the livelihood of small fisherfolk and fish open operators along Pampanga River and in the mouth of Manila Bay for a grand corporate project in Central Luzon known as Public-Private Partnership inspired reclamation venture,” says France.

However, the said project is not “original” to President Benigno C. Aquino III, but of former president and now Pampanga (2nd District) Rep. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.

Based on records, the Pampanga Bay reclamation was in virtue of Administrative Order No. 288, which the former chief executive signed a month before she stepped down from presidency as her term expired on June 2010.

“Arroyo’s AO No. 288 argues that Pampanga Bay can be potential site for a reclamation project considering the relatively shallow sealed over a large portion with an approximate area of 2,500 hectares which is almost double the size of the reclamation along Manila Bay,” France told CBCPNews.

He also said that the plan involved the construction of river dikes along two (2) major river systems to define the boundaries of river banks and create land strips with an average width of not less than one hundred (100) meters and extending from the towns proper of Lubao and Sasmuan up to the Pampanga Bay.

“Such and strips will provide areas for road right of way and for human settlements of mixed land uses following a linear type of development, the AO furthered. However, the reclamation project will result not only to demolition and destruction of livelihood and fishing villages, but it will cause a “Great Deluge” in the Central Luzon because the reclamation in Pampanga Bay and in the mouth of Manila Bay will cause heavy floods contrary to the claim of the government that it would ease flood in the region, particularly in the provinces of Pampanga and Bulacan,” France further explained.

France and Hicap also appealed to Bishop Broderick S. Pabillo of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines’ Episcopal Commission on Social Action, Justice and Peace (ECSA-JP) to push for a dialogue with Malacañang and other involved with the project, and re-assess the potential ill-effect of the Pampanga Bay reclamation. your social media marketing partner
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