Groups clean-up bird sanctuary in Metro Manila, urge gov’t to stop reclamation projects

The Save Freedom Island Movement (SFIM), Save the Bay Alliance, and the Earth Island Institute Philippines held a clean-up drive at the Las Pinas – Paranaque Critical Habitat and Ecotourism Area (LLPPCHEA) today.

They were joined by the Wild Bird Club of the Philippines, Greenpeace Philippines, Minggan, students coming from University of the Philippines, Adamson, Polytechnic University of the Philippines, and also by Sen. Cynthia Villar and the Sagip Kalikasan. It was the largest coastal clean-up held in Freedom Island so far this year with 566 volunteers.

“Garbage that pollutes our seas is a compelling issue that Filipinos should unite against,” said Trixie Concepcion, Earth Island Institute Philippines Regional Director. “This endangers our archipelago, which is home to numerous marine wildlife species, and the livelihood of numerous Filipinos.”

“This is more than just a search for the perfect view of Manila Bay” said Raymund “Mong” Palatino, former Congressman and convenor of Save the Bay Movement. “Garbage is destroying the livelihood of thousands of fisherfolk living in the coastal communities of Mega Manila. Meanwhile, reclamation, which is an irreversible project, poses a greater threat to the lives of these residents. Failure to restore Manila Bay, and the aggressive push for reclamation, would mean more misery and even death for the country’s poorest sector.”

“Only big business profits from fuelling reclamation projects with taxpayer’s money through the Public-Private Partnership (PPP). Why not put these funds into the rehabilitation of Manila Bay and supporting fisherfolk communities?” said Fr. Herman Abcede, convenor of the Metro Manila coordinating body of the People’s Initiative Against Pork Barrel. “We join this clean-up encouraging volunteers to stand-up and sign the People’s Initiative to clean-up the government of discretionary funds like DAP and PDAF.”

Save the Bay Alliance and the SFIM has been conducting regular clean-ups at the LLPCHEA as they struggle against reclamation projects in Manila Bay. “Garbage and reclamation are indicators of haphazard urbanization and the continuing dominance of a dirty and deadly model of development,” Palatino ends.

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