Fisherfolk to derail the LLEDP bidding

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Fisherfolk to derail the LLEDP biddingLAKESHORE EXPRESSWAY2

Manila, Philippines – Fisherfolk group Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (Pamalakaya-Pilipinas) and the broad alliance Save Laguna Lake Movement (SLLM) on Thursday vows to disrupt the submission of bids for the Laguna Lakeshore Expressway Dike Project (LLEDP) which is scheduled on March 14 at the office of the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH).

The LLEDP involves construction of the 47-kilometer expressway dike from Taguig City to Los Banos, Laguna and the reclamation of 700 hectares of land for mixed use in Taguig. It is one of President Aquino’s biggest Public-Private Partnership (PPP) project worth P122.8B. Three business consortiums are qualified in the bidding including the Team Trident which is composed of Ayala Land Inc., SM Prime Holdings Inc., Aboitiz Equity Ventures Inc. and Megaworld Corp.; the San Miguel Corp.; and Alloy Pavi Hanshin LLEDP Consortium.

Pamalakaya and SLLM said that despite the several delays due to the legality issues brought about by the bidders, it is obvious that the project is being railroaded since it is exempted in the election ban.

The LLEDP will displace and rob the livelihood of hundreds of thousands of already impoverished fisherfolk. But the Aquino administration is hell-bent on giving this project to big business tycoons as a token for their electoral support to LP.”

Laguna de Bay used to be rich fishing waters before and a home to 23 lake fish species, but only six survived and the various seaweeds have been replaced by bunch of water lilies due to the epic fail flood control structure and destructive government programs and projects around the lake.” Salvador France, Pamalakaya vice-chairperson said in a statement.

The LLEDP, according to Pamalakaya, will displace 3.9 million fisherfolk and urban poor families living around the lake. It will also affect the 10 million Filipinos who directly and indirectly depend on the abundance of its waters.

According to Geologist Dr. Kelvin Rodolfo, the LLEDP is not environmentally feasible because if a large earthquake on the West Marikina Valley Fault ruptures the planned expressway dike, Metro Manila would be flooded catastrophically, this would bring disaster to the residents of Metro Manila and people living around the lake.

“It is very apparent that the government is no longer within the framework of bringing back the lake’s natural wealth that once provides sufficient livelihood to the fisherfolk. What will happen to us, the fisherfolk if they remove us from our only source of livelihood? We are like fish that is removed from the water; LLEDP will be the last nail to our coffin.” Ronnie Molera, Spokesperson of SLLM said.

The fisherfolk are unable to make a decent living off the polluted lake. And instead of providing a genuine rehabilitation to bring back the lake’s natural profusion, the government’s overall answer is to transform the lake into an eco-tourism hub. If that happens, we are ready to put up a fight, in any way, shape, or form we can.” Molera said. ###

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