Residents of Barangay Tayud in Consolacion town, Cebu hold a protest rally to express opposition to the proposed reclamation project in their area. (CONTRIBUTED PHOTO)
CEBU CITY – Residents of Barangay Tayud in Consolacion town, north Cebu whose livelihood depends on the shipyard operations in the area have appealed to President Duterte to stop the municipality’s 235.8-hectare reclamation project.
About 100 residents on Sunday signed a manifesto imploring the country’s top official to stop the “Seafront City” reclamation project which they said will not only affect their livelihood but also their homes.
These residents include motorcycle-for-hire drivers, tricycle drivers, eatery operators, and owners of boarding houses that serve workers and visitors of the six shipyards that operate in Barangay Tayud.
The other signatories include fisherfolks who rely on fishing as a source of income.
“We are poor residents who can’t afford to live in expensive subdivisions or get an apartment unit. We survive on fishing and doing hard labor like working in shipyards that are located in our barangay,” they said in their petition.
“And the risk of losing both our homes and our source of livelihood while we are still suffering from a pandemic is unbearable. We are begging that you listen to our pleas,” they added.
At least 20 fishermen went out to the sea near the shipyards to catch fish early Sunday morning to disprove claims by Consolacion Mayor Joannes Alegado and other town officials that Barangay Tayud is no longer rich in marine resources.
The fishermen were later joined by their wives and children for the ceremonial signing of a petition addressed to President Duterte at the mangroves swamp in the area to show how the proposed project would lead to the destruction of the marine habitat there.
“We are registered voters of Barangay Tayud and most of us have lived in the barangay all our lives. This was where we were born, where we studied, got married, and raised our children,” the petition read.
“Despite the development that is now being enjoyed by our locality, many of us continue to fish or earn from the bounty of the sea, something that we inherited from our forefathers. Mr. President, we are knocking on your kind heart and are appealing that you listen to our pleas,” it added.
Affected residents lamented that they were never consulted by the municipal government nor were they invited in a public hearing on the project.
The residents of Barangay Tayud were the second group to file a petition to the President to stop the reclamation project.
Last week, at least 2,000 workers of the six affected shipyards also filed a petition asking President Duterte to stop the reclamation project.
The Consolacion municipal government has partnered with a private consortium — La Consolacion Seafront Development Corporation (LCSDC) – to undertake the 235.8-hectare “Seafront City” reclamation project on the coastlines of Barangay Tayud.
Based on the records of the Securities and Exchange Commission, LCSDC was only incorporated last Oct. 31, 2019 with a capitalization of P10 million. Among the incorporators were incumbent Rep. Victor Yap of Tarlac and his brother, Jose Yap Jr., who is former mayor of San Jose town in Tarlac.
According to the 2020 census, Tayud has a population of more than 23,000. At least 31.25 percent of the population are minors who depend on their parents for survival.
Edward Ligas, former Commissioner of the Presidential Commission on Urban Poor, appealed to government officials to also consider the plight of residents and other affected sectors.
“The Consolacion must focus on addressing the basic needs and well-being of the residents, especially that we’re struggling in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic,” he said.
“Mayor Alegado and LCSDC should not pursue this reclamation project as it will lead to the loss of livelihood of fisherfolk and other workers. Our voice is clear: We oppose the Seafront City reclamation project as it will destroy lives,” he added.
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