Fisherfolk seek cancellation of Cavite dredging environmental clearance

FISHERFOLK have asked the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) to revoke the environmental compliance certificate (ECC) granted for the two dredging projects in Cavite, citing the impact on their livelihood.

“Since the beginning of dredging in the municipal waters of Naic in 2021, fishermen’s income has dramatically decreased to only an estimated P300 for two days of fishing,” Fernando L. Hicap, chairman of the Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (PAMALAKAYA), said in a statement.

According to PAMALAKAYA, Silverquest Mining Resources, Inc. received an ECC for a seabed quarry project in 2021.

The project covers 2,214 hectares of municipal waters off Ternate and Naic, Cavite.

Another clearance was issued to Dutch dredging firm Royal Boskalis Westminster N.V. (Boskalis) in Rosario, Cavite, PAMALAKAYA said.

Both activities support the reclamation and development projects conducted within Manila Bay.

According to Mr. Hicap, the dredging has resulted in reduced catches of common whiting (asohos), red sea bream (besugo), and blue crab (alimasag) due to the noise and pollution caused by dredging.

Citing a study by the Ecosystems Research and Development Bureau, a research arm of the DENR, Mr. Hicap said that nearly 72% of coral reefs in Cavite are under threat of destruction.

He also claimed no public consultation was conducted before the dredging projects were approved.

The DENR was asked to comment but had not replied at the deadline. — Sheldeen Joy Talavera