Impending demolition responsible for death of a fisherman in Navotas City

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This article is available in Pilipino

The Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (Pamalakaya) asserts that the death on April 2 of 55-year-old fisherman Rodrigo Maano in Navotas City can be attributed to the imminent demolition of their community. Reports say Maano suffered a heart attack while in a rush harvesting the mussels from the farm that was set to be demolished to make way for the reclamation project.

According to Maano’s partner Lydia Sison, the victim was already suffering from excessive stress and fatigue before the tragic incident. He was forced to harvest mussels even when they were young or not yet ready for harvesting. He decided to do this rather than see his hard work go to waste.

“The demolition rush, coupled with the looming loss of livelihood, created uncertainty and great distress in the fishing communities of Navotas,” according to Ka Fernando Hicap, national chairman of Pamalakaya.

The local government started pushing for the demolition of 200 fishing sites and other fishing structures along the coast in September 2022 and intensified its efforts in 2024. The local government has also stopped accepting applications for a permit for their operation.

The demolition is being carried out to make way for the Navotas Bay Reclamation Project. The 650-hectare project is being pushed by the local government and its partner Argonbay Construction Company, a subsidiary of San Miguel Corporation owned by Ramon Ang.

Pamalakaya data shows an 80% fall in the daily income of fishermen since the reclamation of the Navotas coast began last year.

“Maano’s death underscores the need to investigate what happened to him and the wider implications of the demolition and reclamations on the condition of coastal residents and fisherfolk,” Hicap stressed. He said, the Department of Agriculture-Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources is responsible for the death of Maano and their destruction of the livelihood of the residents.

“Demolition must stop and those whose livelihoods have been destroyed must be given just compensation. All destructive reclamations must stop immediately,” Hicap said. Pamalakaya challenged fellow fisherfolks and Navotas City residents to unite and push the local government to take action and bring justice to Maano’s death.

This 650-hectare reclamation is only one of 22 reclamation projects approved in Manila Bay. According to data from the Philippine Reclamation Authority (PRA) in 2023, there are 187 existing and approved reclamation projects nationwide.

AB: Impending demolition responsible for death of a fisherman in Navotas City