Anti-mining groups picket DENR, demand halt to seabed quarrying
ATM Statement | February 27, 2023
Members of Alyansa Tigil Mina (ATM) and Partido Lakas ng Masa (PLM) demonstrated in front of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) today as they demanded a halt in destructive seabed quarrying related to reclamation projects in Manila Bay.
Jaybee Garganera, ATM National Coordinator, said the “DENR must conduct an investigation of the destructive seabed quarrying activities and issue a corresponding order to stop the operations in Manila Bay.”
“We share the concern of scientists and fisherfolks who have reported that fishes are being driven away because of the pollution and noise caused by seabed quarrying,” he added.
According to news reports, a study by the National Fisheries Research and Development Institute previously found that parts of Manila Bay, such as Bulacan, Metro Manila and Cavite, have high biomass of fish eggs and larvae. Scientists warn that coastal and mangrove ecosystems that serve as nursery grounds for fish would be affected if dredging and reclamation activities were to continue.
Romeo Miranda, PLM-Naic Coordinator, likewise called on government to stop seabed quarrying, which only serve big business at the expense of ordinary citizens and the environment. “Ipatigil ang Seabed Quarrying dahil ito ay proyekyo para lamang pagkakitaan ng mga mayayamang korporasyon at magdudulot ito ng perwisyo sa kabuhayan ng mamamayan at banta sa kaligtasan ng mga naninirahan sa baybayin sa panahon ng kalamidad.”
“Dapat, proyektong magpuprotekta at magpapaunlad sa ating pangisdaan at mangangalaga sa ating kapaligiran para sa sustinableng pamayanan,” he said. “Tao ang unahin hindi ang tubo ng mga malalaking korporasyon!”
Garganera added that the “DENR must retain and strictly enforce the existing moratorium on new seabed quarrying applications.” He said that “a cost-benefit analysis must be undertaken to pave the way for the eventual ban of seabed quarrying,”
“To allow seabed quarrying and reclamation projects to continue despite the damage to the environment and the communities is totally unjust. The DENR must take the appropriate action immediately,” he concluded.
The protest action also aims to put pressure on the DENR to defend the environment as calls against mining mount, particularly in the anti-mining barricades in Sibuyan, Romblon and Brooke’s Point, Palawan and the recent anti-Kaliwa dam Walk from Quezon province to Malacanang.