(Schematic plan of Bulacan Internantional Airport. International Airport)
ANGELES CITY – Some 700 fisherfolk families to be affected by the proposed 2,500-hectare Bulacan international airport aired yesterday opposition to plans to relocate them to give way to the airport being pushed by the San Miguel Corp. in Barangay Taliptip in Bulakan, Bulacan.
“We don’t need relocation; instead, we assert that the fisherfolks and coastal residents remain in their fishing community as it is. It is the project of Ramon Ang that should be transferred to another area where no livelihood rights will be violated and no natural resources will be destroyed,” the Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (Pamalakaya) said in a statement issued in behalf of the families yesterday.
The Bulacan Airport project, which has already acquired an environmental compliance certificate (ECC) from the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), will reclaim 2,500 hectares of the northeastern side of Manila Bay and will displace at least 700 fishing families and other coastal residents in Barangay Taliptip.
Pamalakaya said the families do not want to be relocated, noting that relocation areas are “usually far from civilization with no basic social services and livelihood nearby.”
“Those affected by the project subsist on Manila Bay by fishing, and ejecting them from the coastal area where they grew up is like killing them slowly by depriving them of their only source of livelihood,” Bobby Roldan, Pamalakaya vice chair for Luzon said.
Roldan also raised concern over the adverse environmental impact of the airport project, noting that hectares of mangroves would have to be destroyed, and thus possibly trigger flooding inland in the entire province of Bulacan.
“Fishing and community rights of the fisherfolk are non-negotiable, and are not supposed to give way to those who salivate to rake in profit at the expense of our productive fishing community and fishing resources,” added Roldan.
“We are calling on the fisherfolk and residents of the entire Bulacan province to unite and defend our community and natural resources against this project of development aggression,” Roldan also said.