A group of fisherman lodged a strong opposition to a 174-hectare land reclamation project in Dumaguete City of a China-based construction firm called Poly Changda Overseas Engineering Corp., saying this could be a prelude to another take-over of our waters and plunder of marine resources.  

The Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (Pamalakaya) on July 19 warned that the implementation of a controversial land reclamation project proposal in Dumaguete City may open the gates to Chinese “encroachment” in surrounding waters.

“All the more reason to oppose this reclamation project that would involve a Chinese construction firm as this may be a prelude to another takeover of our waters and plunder of marine resources,” the group said in a statement.

Expressing its strong opposition against the proposed 174-hectare reclamation in Dumaguete City, the group said the involvement of China-based construction firm Poly Changda Overseas Engineering Co. is fueling their suspicions.

Pamalakaya warned against what it called “sell-out of pristine marine waters to China,” which the group said is plundering the Philippines’ exclusive economic zone in the West Philippine Sea.

Pamamalakaya Chairman Fernando Hicap said: “The environmental catastrophe that the reclamation project would bring to the marine ecosystem is one thing but having a Chinese firm as its subcontractor is quite another. We all know how China rampantly occupies our exclusive economic zone and exploits our marine resources at the expense of the livelihood of our fisherfolks and the national patrimony.” 

Pamalakaya earlier added its voice to the growing opposition against the Dumaguete reclamation project due to devastating impacts to the marine environment, coastal communities, and local fish supply.

“Having China in the picture makes the Dumaguete reclamation project not only an environmental and socio-economic concern but also a matter of national patrimony. This is not development, this is profit-driven project and foreign takeover in disguise,” Hicap said.

The group said it would unite the local fishing communities with the environmental and science sectors in opposing the “destructive” reclamation project, and the “creeping Chinese encroachment” of different parts of the Philippine seas.

“Together with the way we resist Chinese incursion in the West Philippine Sea, we will expose and oppose this apparently new wave of Chinese plunder and encroachment in Philippine waters,” Hicap said.