Millions of informal settlers living in Navotas, Cavite, and Bataan, are expected to be displaced by a Manila Bay flood control and expressway project of the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH), a fisherfolk group said.
Fernando Hicap, national chairman of Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamalakayang Pilipino (Pamalakaya), said hundreds of informal settlers are slowly being driven out of their homes from Navotas to Bataan, where the DPWH and San Miguel Corporation’s Manila Bay Integrated Flood Control, Coastal Defense and Expressway Project will be constructed once the project get approval.
Hicap said he believes that the huge fire that razed a residential area at the Navotas Fish Port Complex last month was the latest attempt at displacing illegal settlers.
Hicap claimed that not everyone who was rendered homeless by fires and demolitions was relocated and given proper housing since the government does not have a “comprehensive plan” for that.
“Ang pinakamasakit diyan, ‘yung nasunugan ka na, hindi ka pa makakabalik sa tinitirhan mo (What hurts most is when you were already rendered homeless by a fire, and you cannot even go back to your home),” Hicap told the Manila Bulletin in a phone interview.
The P400-billion flood control and expressway project is expected to help combat typhoon waves in the northern metropolis, improve road access, and increase economic growth in Metro Manila.
It is currently being evaluated by the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) Investment Coordination Committee and Technical Board.
But Hicap called for the scrapping of the “profit-oriented” project that is “only being packaged as a flood control project.”
He pointed out that the Pampanga Delta Development Project (PDDP) in Masantol town, which was also aimed at alleviating the impact of flooding of communities in the Pampanga River basin, now acts as a dam blocking the free flow of water toward Manila Bay.
The Pamalakaya chairman said developing and restoring the fishery and marine ecosystem in coastal communities would be a better long-term measure against flooding and storm surges.
“Our standing call is genuine rehabilitation and reclamation-free Manila Bay. This is what the Supreme Court has ordered. We warn the Duterte government against defying it,” Hicap said in a statement. (Minka Klaudia Tiangco)
News source: Manila Bulletin