Hydropower projects will kill Laguna Lake – fisherfolk group
Manila, Philippines – The militant fisherfolk group Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (PAMALAKAYA-Pilipinas) expresses its strong opposition to the plan of the Department of Energy (DOE) to put up six pumped storage hydropower projects in Laguna de Bay for its environmental and livelihood disaster that could pose to the lake.
The DOE over the weekend has accepted the proposals or service contract (SC) applications of six hydropower firms to use water of Laguna de Bay as power source using the pumped-storage hydroelectricity. DOE said the six projects would total around 3,000 MW and will be distributed in Rizal and Laguna sides of the lake.
PAMALAKAYA said the proposed hydropower projects would entail the total privatization of the country’s largest lake on which millions of 4.9 million fishing and urban poor families depend on its aquatic resources.
“We vehemently oppose this new face of corporate take-over that will further the privatization and conversion of Laguna Lake. The hydropower projects disregard the traditional use of the lake as a fishing ground and source of livelihood for small fisherfolk,”
“Aside from socio-economic cost, this project threatens the environment and aquatic life of Laguna Lake because it will more likely to pollute its water after using it as a power source,” Fernando Hicap, PAMALAKAYA Chairperson said in a statement.
The group said that since Laguna de Bay had been subject to conversion and the Napindan Hydraulic Control Structure had been built to desalinate the lake, various government and private projects have taken place and the traditional use of the lake as a fishing ground has been set aside. The conversion of the lake also causes the disappearance of several fish species and fish catch depletion.
PAMALAKAYA claims that past and present governments consistently prevent the entry of salt water into the lake in order to cool down thousands of commercial and industrial establishments situated around Laguna de Bay.
“Still the reason why Laguna de Bay is now on its deteriorating stage is because of past and present conversion projects. The lake had been always healthy and abundant before until a facility that prevents the salt water to enter has been built. Laguna de Bay is brackish water, thus the presence of salt water is highly essential to maintain its ecological balance and nutrients for the fish species to thrive,”
“We demand proper rehabilitation of the lake through clearing of all fish pens, restricting industrial and commercial establishments to dump its toxic and chemical wastes, and the opening of the Napindan structure to let salt water of Manila Bay mix with its fresh water. These projects if push through will mount huge resistance from the fisherfolk and residents of Laguna Lake,” Hicap ended. ###