Fishers and residents along Laguna Lake stormed the LLEDP bidding
Manila, Philippines – Hundreds of fisherfolk under the group Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (Pamalakaya-Pilipinas) together with the broad alliance Save Laguna Lake Movement (SLLM) staged a roving protest in front of the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) during the bidding ceremony of the Laguna Lakeshore Expressway Dike Project (LLEDP) today.
The LLEDP which has two components – a 47-kilometer expressway dike from Muntinlupa, Taguig to Los Banos, Laguna; and 700-hectare reclamation for commercial and mixed use – is one of President Aquino’s biggest projects under Public-Private Partnership (PPP), amounting to P122.8B.
During the protest, fisherfolk dumped bunches of waterlilies at the gate of the DPWH, as a symbol of the huge menace that the LLEDP will pose to the fishers and poor residents living around the lake.
Pamalakaya said that around 3.9 million fisherfolk and urban poor families will be displaced from their livelihoods to pave way for this grandiose project.
“ In the midst of election ban for public infrastructures, the Aquino administration is pushing through with this flagship project in return for giant businesses’ funding and political support,” Salvador France, Pamalakaya Vice-chairperson said.
Three qualified business consortiums have submitted their bids including the Team Trident which includes Ayala Land Inc., SM Prime Holdings Inc., Aboitiz Equity Ventures Inc.and Megaworld Corp.; the San Miguel Corp.; and Alloy Pavi Hanshin LLEDP Consortium.
“Fishers can barely make a decent living off the polluted lake because of several destructive projects implemented by current and past administrations. Notable is the epic fail-flood control system which barred the entry of salt water onto the lake, and has caused the rapid deterioration of lake’s biodiversity. For the fishers like us who will be wiped out from our communities, the LLEDP will be the final nail in our coffin,.” Ronnie Molera, SLLM Spokesperson said.
Pamalakaya and SLLM said Aquino and his heir apparent, Mar Roxas want to reorient the Laguna de Bay from a rich and abundant fishing lake to world-class commercial hub for money-making ventures of the rich, all at the cost of fishers’ lives.
“We vehemently oppose this wholesale destruction on Laguna de Bay. We demand for a stop of all the destructive projects implemented in our lake especially the LLEDP. The lake is currently on its deathbed and a genuine and pro-people rehabilitation is a must, to bring back its natural abundance for the benefit of the fishers and the people,” Molera added.
Carrying placards bearing slogans “No Dike Zone” fishers and local residents around Laguna de Bay declared that the LLEDP will find no room in Laguna de Bay, as they vowed to oppose and derail the implementation of this anti- fishers and anti-poor project. ###