Sunday, September 7, 2008

Fisherfolk block drilling operations

Saturday, September 06, 2008
Fisherfolk block drilling operations

FISHERFOLK reportedly blocked the survey boat of the Australia-based NorAsian Energy Limited yesterday at the Cebu-Bohol Strait.

This was in protest of the company’s operations off the shores of Sibonga and Argao towns in southern Cebu.

Vince Cinches, executive director of the Central Visayas Fisherfolk Development Center, Inc. (Fidec), said that because of the company’s operations in the waters where the fisherfolk normally fish, the community has been greatly affected.

“They can no longer fish and sell their catch. They can no longer make a living, people have gone hungry, and children have stopped going to school. The people are experiencing hard times,” said Cinches in Bisaya.

According to Cinches, the fisherfolk held a fluvial protest before the survey vessel and tried to stop it from continuing with its operations.

“What they (NorAsian) are doing right now is for the preparation for the drilling that will happen in a few months,” said Cinches.


However, despite current operations of Nor—Asian at the strait, their activities remain illegal, said Cinches.

Cinches earlier said that the company failed to comply with Republic Act 8550 (RA) or the Fisheries Code of 1998.

“Republic Act 8550 says that activities should happen 15 kilometers off the shore.

But NorAsian’s activities are operated seven kilometers off the shore,” he said.

Also, Cinches said that the company still has to get an environmental compliance certificate (ECC).

Because of these violations, Fidec along with the fisherfolk will be filling a citizen’s suit against NorAsian and the Department of Energy (DOE).


“They have violated RA 8550, the National Integrated Protected Areas Act, and they have committed violations of the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) system and the Clean Air Act of the Philippines because during operations they are also emitting pollution,” he said.

Cinches said that Fidec will bring the issue of NorAsian’s offshore mining to the international community with hopes of addressing this pressing problem.

“The World Forum on Fisher People is planning to issue a statement against NorAsia,” he said.

To continue with their protest against offshore mining, fisherfolk of Sibonga and Argao will be coming to Cebu City on Monday to bring their protest before the DOE 7. (EPB)

For Bisaya stories from Cebu. Click here.

No comments: