Pamalakaya wants LLDA Chief Neric Acosta charged for negligence and incompetence
Manila, Philippines – The militant fisherfolk group Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (Pamalakaya-Pilipinas) wants to investigate and charge Laguna Lake Development Authority (LLDA) General Manager Nereus “Neric” Acosta for the rampant proliferation of fish pens and reclamation activities in Laguna de Bay during his term.
Pamalakaya said while GM Acosta has recently ordered the dismantling of vast fish pens in Laguna de Bay, the LLDA recently approved a total of 195 fish pen applicants; 46 of those are individuals, 8 cooperatives and 142 corporations.
During Acosta’s term, presence of fish pens in Laguna de Bay dramatically rose to 73.1%. Fish pens occupies 13, 000 hectares of Laguna de Bay on 2006, but rose to 22, 500 during Acosta’s term.
“We smell something fishy about GM Acosta’s stand against fish pens. Why only now? We think it’s only “papogi” to the present administration maybe so he could keep his position. Not one big fish pens were dismantled during his term, it even increased. Not one erring fish pen operators were prosecuted especially those who uses dummies to illegally acquire hundreds of hectares of fish pen areas, more than what is allowed. We want to know if there is a “secret partnership” between the LLDA official and private aquaculture firms that acquired large portions of Laguna de Bay,” Fernando “Ka Pando” Hicap, Pamalakaya Chairperson said in a statement.
The fisherfolk group also accused Acosta of turning a blind eye on unabated illegal reclamations being done by private companies on large portions of Laguna de Bay. Most of these companies are even guaranteed with entitlements and their reclamation projects supported or protected by some local government units. Since 2012, 151.64 hectares of Laguna Lake have been reclaimed with some areas using as landfill combinations of toxic industrial, domestic and bio-hazard wastes. Big portions of the reclaimed areas are in Taguig while some are scattered in other parts of the provinces of Laguna and in Rizal like Taytay, Angono and Binangonan.
“Reclamation of Laguna de Bay using various wastes pollutes the lake even more and destroys the fishing grounds and the environment. It will also put at risk the health, lives and livelihood of the people living along the lake. We want an explanation from the LLDA why these illegal reclamations around Laguna Lake continue to happen right under their noses,” Hicap said.
Dismantling of big fish pens and putting a stop to all reclamation projects around Laguna Lake would greatly benefit thousands of small fisherfolks and their families. Through the years they have endured the hardships that befell them because of the proliferation of big fish pens and unabated illegal reclamations. But it could only be done not by posturing and empty promises of some officials from the LLDA like Acosta but by political will and genuine concern for the small fisherfolk and for the people living around Laguna Lake.
“Acosta and other LLDA officials should be charged with gross negligence and incompetence,” Hicap ended.