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Cavite fishermen say dredging, seabed quarrying threaten their livelihood

Fishermen in Rosario, Cavite say dredging and seabed quarrying activities in the municipality are threatening not only the environment but their livelihood as well.

In Maki Pulido’s report on “24 Oras” on Wednesday, the fishermen said that their daily earnings have gone down from P1,250 to just P250 after at least ten dredging vessels were deployed in the area in 2021 to supply sand for a reclamation project in Bulacan.

“‘Pag naghuhukay po sila dyan pati corals. Kaya yung initlogan ng mga isda diyan at kalakal naming alimasag, pusit, wala na,” said fisherman Ferdinand Villanueva.

(When they quarry in the sea, they are damaging the corrals. The fish are gone, so are the crabs and squid.)

Villanueva said some of them have to venture out to farther to fish, while others are now working in construction.

There are dredging activities in at least five towns in Cavite, according to the report: Rosario, Naic, Tanza, Maragondon and Ternate.

According to the Philippine Reclamation Authority (PRA), the sand collected in Rosario is being used for an airport being built in Bulacan.

The PRA admitted that the seabed quarrying has driven out the fish, but said they have programs for the affected residents.

“Lahat po ng fishermans’ organization doon. The locals were either nabigyan na po namin ng ibang benefits, ayuda or other employment,” said PRA Assistant General Manager Joseph Literal.

(We have extended assistance to all locals and fishermans' groups. We gave them either cash aid or other employment.)

Literal also said the PRA and the Department of Environment and Natural Resources Mines and Geosciences Bureau (DENR-MGB) will conduct a geohazard assessment to check the situation there.

GMA Integrated News reached out to the local government of Rosario but it declined to comment.

Meanwhile, the DENR, which awarded the seabed quarrying permit, has yet to release a statement.

The Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) said extending assistance to fisherfolk is one of the conditions for the awarding of such a permit.

“Titingnan kung nasusunod 'yung mga conditions doon at syempre base sa koordinasyon titignan kung may kailangang aksyon,” said BFAR spokesperson Nazario Briguera.

(They should check if the conditions are being met and they should take actions based on their coordination.) — Sundy Locus/BM, GMA Integrated News