In spite of President Ferdinand Marcos Jr.’s declaration to suspend all reclamation projects in Manila Bay, claims have arisen that dredging activities for reclamation persist in Cavite, as reported by a fisherfolk group.

The Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (Pamalakaya) has observed dredging vessels off the coasts of Rosario, Noveleta, Tanza, and Naic in Cavite on Sunday, merely four days after the President’s announcement of the reclamation project suspension in the bay.

Fernando Hicap, Pamalakaya’s national chairman, emphasized that these dredging operations, which support various reclamation projects in Manila Bay, should theoretically fall under the suspension order issued by the President.

Dredging is being undertaken by the Philippine Reclamation Authority (PRA) and San Miguel Corp. (SMC) as part of the dump-and-fill operations associated with the Manila Waterfront Reclamation and the Bulacan Aerotropolis Project.

Hicap pointed out that small-scale fishers in Cavite have been experiencing a significant loss of 80 to 90 percent of their daily income since the commencement of dredging activities two years ago.

“We emphasize that unless there is an official Executive Order or legislation that explicitly prohibits reclamation, President Marcos Jr.’s verbal declaration lacks enforceability and authority,” Hicap emphasized.

The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) stated that all 22 reclamation activities have been halted in accordance with the presidential order issued on August 7.

“The declaration unequivocally suspends all these projects for now. We are thoroughly reviewing each project. Our priority is initially addressing ongoing projects that are already causing impacts in their respective areas, followed by those that have not yet commenced,” explained DENR Secretary Maria Antonia Yulo-Loyzaga during a press briefing on Thursday. (ai/mnm)