Group slams DENR relocation plan for Siargao coastal residents

Elizabeth Marcelo – The Philippine Star

December 30, 2021 | 12:00am


MANILA, Philippines — Fisherfolk group Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (Pamalakaya) has opposed the plan of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) to relocate residents of coastal communities on Siargao Island who lost their houses due to Typhoon Odette.

“Coastal residents of Siargao, once victims of a natural calamity, are once again victimized by the government’s eviction order. This objectionable policy of the DENR to ban Odette evacuees from returning to their coastal communities is far worse than any typhoon that never brings permanent displacement,” the group said yesterday.

The DENR said typhoon-affected residents would be relocated to areas far from the sea to spare them from the onslaught of another typhoon.

The Pamalakaya said most of the residents to be affected by the relocation plan rely on the sea for their living.

“This eviction is not preventive, but a deadly measure for many coastal residents who subsist in seas by fishing,” Pamalakaya national chairperson Fernando Hicap said. ”The DENR is using the natural calamity against the residents who temporarily sought shelter from the typhoon by permanently uprooting them from their communities and livelihood.”                                                                               

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