Fisherfolk to Gina Lopez: Go easy on Laguna de Bay
Manila, Philippines – The militant fisherfolk group Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (Pamalakaya-Pilipinas) on Wednesday warned the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Secretary Gina Lopez on the possible implications of transforming the Laguna de Bay into an eco-tourism zone following the reports that fish products from the lake acquired high level of toxic chemicals that are dangerous to human’s health.
The 90-thousand hectares brackish water experienced deterioration courtesy of the past administrations’ ‘development’ projects under the Laguna Lake Basin 2020 which aims to convert the Laguna de Bay into a full commercial, industrial and economic hub on the year 2020.
The fisherfolk group raised questions whether to convert the use of Laguna de Bay from productive fishing to other use instead of addressing the causes why the lake have reached its dying stage.
The reports about contamination are also highly doubtful unless subjected to thorough research. This is not the first time that there are reports about fish contamination but it was never proven. The people around the lake and even the whole of Metro Manila consume the fish from the lake and yet there were no reported bad effects.
If the conversion pushes through, it would affect tens of thousands of fishefolk families living and relying on Laguna Lake.
“Let’s say fish from Laguna de Bay isn’t safe anymore due to pollution contamination, does transforming it to other use will significantly solve the problem? No, because untreated water wastes that are dumped into the lake come from thousands of industrial and commercial establishments situated along the lake,” Roman Antazo, Pamalakaya Secretary General and a fisherman from Laguna Lake said in a statement.
Transforming the lake would also create a major shortage of fish in the National Capital Region. Data shows that Laguna Lake contributes 30-40% of the total fish consumption of Metro Manila.
Pamalakaya instead urge the Secretary to make necessary actions to prohibit dumping of toxic wastes by large industrial factories in Laguna de Bay instead of a solution that will aggravate the ill-condition of the lake like transforming it into tourist hub.
“Private investors will back the corporate sell-out of the lake under the guise of ‘rehabilitation’ to effectively eject Laguna Lake fishermen and residents and have them replaced with privately-financed projects,”
“We strongly urge Secretary Lope to exercise extreme prudence in enforcing its decisions on Laguna de Bay rehabilitation. We appreciate her good intentions to save the dying lake but direct consultations from the stakeholders must first consider. Nobody but Laguna lake fishers and residents know how to revive the dying lake from corporate-devastation, all we need is political will and support from the government,” Antazo said. ###