Murder of Laguna de Bay kicked off during Marcos regime – fisherfolk
Manila, Philippines – The fisherfolk group Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (PAMALAKAYA-Pilipinas) on Friday castigated President Rodrigo Duterte for allowing late-dictator Ferdinand Marcos to be buried at the Libingan ng mga Bayani (LNMB) on November 19, saying the late-dictator does not deserve to be honored a hero.
The fisherfolk group said that aside from thousands of human rights violations Marcos had committed to the Filipino people during the dark years of martial law, Marcos started the projects and programs on fisheries sector that started the deterioration of our fishing waters, particularly the Laguna de Bay, which is the largest living lake in the country and is a home to thousands of fisherfolk families and poor residents depending on the abundant resources of the lake.
Marcos constructed the Napindan Hydraulic Control Structure (NHCS) which has a channel that prevents the flow of saltwater from Pasig River and Manila Bay to the lake, apparently to convert the lake from productive fishing grounds into permanent potable water for the residents of Metro Manila and become a cooling machine for the thousands of factories and industries situated along the lake.
However, the NHCS harms the residents of Laguna de Bay and put the lake at its dying stage. Naturally, saltwater is essential to Laguna de Bay to keep its ecological balance that gives nutrients to the fish and other species in the lake.
“NHCS promulgates flooding mitigation in the communities around the lake and in Metro Manila, but in contrary, NHCS aggravates the flooding in Laguna de Bay communities because it prevents the water from flowing out of the lake,” Fernando Hicap, PAMALAKAYA Chairperson said in a statement.
PAMALAKAYA said the real score of NHCS is to desalinate the water of Laguna de Bay to keep it purified for commercial and industrial purposes all at the cost of fisherfolk’s livelihood and its natural ecology.
According to the study of PAMALAKAYA, there are around 24 fish species that can be found in Laguna de Bay during the 80s, but decades after the NHCS was constructed, only 6 fish species remain and pest species like janitor fish and knife fish eventually proliferate.
Also during Marcos-era was the creation of the Laguna Lake Development Authority (LLDA), an attached agency of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) which facilitated destructive projects and programs for Laguna de Bay.
“Late-dictator Marcos inaugurated the conversion that led to deterioration of Laguna de Bay. Before the construction of the NHCS, Laguna Lake fishers can caught with an average of 10-15 kilos of fish per day, but after the NHCS was built, the average fish catch of a fisherman drastically drops to 2-5 all time low per day,” Hicap said.
PAMALAKAYA said President Duterte had made the wrong move when he allowed to honor a President that committed numerous grave human rights abuses and put the lives of the Filipino people in quagmire of misery. But also to be held accountable were the post-martial law administrations who failed to hold the Marcoses accountable for their crimes.
“Only by holding the Marcoses and its abusive cronies criminally liable and providing justice to their victims can the Filipino people move on to the dark years of martial law,” Hicap ended. ###