Concerns over impact of Bulacan airport still unanswered, Taliptip residents say
Gaea Katreena Cabico ( - October 17, 2019 - 4:04pm

MANILA, Philippines — Residents of a coastal village in Bulacan, who fear they will lose their homes and their livelihood once the construction of an airport project in the province starts, said their concerns have yet to be addressed despite protesting in front of the main office of a major conglomerate.

Residents of Barangay Taliptip in Bulakan town and their supporters picketed the headquarters of San Miguel Corp. in Mandaluyong on Thursday morning to stress their opposition to the construction of the P735-billion New Manila International Airport in waters they call home.

The coastal villagers appealed to SMC president and COO Ramon Ang to stop the project and to consider the welfare of “little people”—the fishermen and their families.

They said the development will lead to the displacement of around 700 families in Taliptip and the loss of livelihood of fisherfolk once the 2,500 hectares of fishing grounds are reclaimed for the construction of the aerotropolis.

“Sa San Miguel, sana wag niyo nang ituloy ‘yung gagawin niyong airport kasi kaming mahihirap ang naapektuhan. Tirahan, kabuhayan at ang kalikasan ang inyong sisirain kung ituloy niyo ang airport na ito,” Evangeline Ilod, a resident of Brgy. Taliptip, said.

(We appeal to San Miguel to stop the planned airport because the poor like us will be affected. You will destroy our homes, our livelihood and the environment if you push through with this project.)

SMC did not send a representative to face the protesters during their hour-long protest.

The Bulacan airport, dubbed as a “game changer” by SMC, is seen by its proponents to attract foreign investments and millions of additional tourists to the Philippines.

Effects of development to reach other communities

The coastal villagers said the airport project will also have an impact even in distant communities.

“Hindi lang kami ang mahihirapan kundi buong mamamayan dahil sa pagtatambak niyo ng palaisdaan. Maraming mga isda ang mawawala kagaya ng bangus, hipon, sugpo, tilapia, alimango at iba pang isda,” Ilod also said.

(The residents are not the only ones who will be affected once the fishing grounds are filled with land. Many types of fish will be gone such as milkfish, prawn, tilapia, crabs and others.)

Vito Hernandez, public information officer of Advocates of Science and Technology for the People, or Agham, said the reclamation will affect the entire Manila Bay.

“The fishing industry of Bulacan, Pampanga, Cavite will die. Even the people living in Metro Manila will feel the impact,” he said.

Environmental groups also warned that the reclamation will bring intense flooding to the coastal and low-lying areas of Bulacan and in nearby areas.

Fight for their homes, livelihood

The residents of Taliptip said they will not give up the waters of Bulakan—their lifeblood—without a fight.

They said the company has yet to provide them the masterplan of the project, which should include the details of their relocation to a fishing village.

“Hindi kami papayag na matuloy ang binabalak ninyo. Habang kami ay nakatayo, lalaban kami at ipaglalaban namin an gaming karapatan bilang mamamayang maliliit,” resident Monica Anastacio said.

(We will not allow your project to push through. We will fight and we will fight for our rights as small individuals.)

Last July, the coastal villagers held protests at the main office of SMC and the Department of Environment and Natural Resources.

Rogelio Martinez, a priest who has been helping Taliptip residents for the past two years, said there is nothing wrong with development projects but the welfare of fisherfolk should not be neglected.

"Pinararangalan natin sila sa isang partikular na araw pero sana pakinggan din natin ang kanilang hinaing," he said.

(We honor [fishermen] on a particular day but we should also listen to their concerns.)

May 31st of each year is National Fisherfolks Day under Proclamation No. 261.  

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