Laguna de Bay
LLDA, DENR Laguna Lake rehab plan a hypocritical solution – fisherfolk group
Manila, Philippines – The militant fisherfolk group Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (PAMALAKAYA-Pilipinas) on Sunday dismissed the government’s rehabilitation plan in Laguna de Bay which is only to strictly implement sewage treatment facilities of thousands of industries situated along the lake.
In a hearing deliberation regarding Laguna Lake rehabilitation held in the House of Representatives last week, officials of the Laguna Lake Development Authority (LLDA) claimed that among their long-term solution on the deteriorating Laguna de Bay is to strictly enforce the effluent standards for wastewater discharge, which means factories will still be able to discharge toxic chemical wastes into the lake as long as they comply with the policy.
For its part, PAMALAKAYA lambasted the LLDA, an attached agency of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) for overlooking on the real issue on why the Laguna de Bay has been deteriorating, saying any solution proposed by the LLDA and DENR would always remain futile if they fail to tackle the issue of the Napindan Hydraulic Control Structure (NHCS), a flood control structure located at Napindan Channel in Taguig, City.
Napindan Channel is the only outlet of the lake to Manila Bay, but since the construction of the NCHS, saltwater from Manila Bay has been blocked from entering the Laguna de Bay, causing the 90-thousand hectare brackish lake to gradually deteriorate.
“Saltwater is highly essential to Laguna de Bay because first and foremost, it is a brackish lake that is basically a mixture of freshwater and saltwater. So preventing the entry of saltwater into the lake effectively changes its ecological balance and poses adverse effects to its aquatic ecosystem. Concrete example on the negative impacts of the Napindan structure is the proliferation of invasive fish species in the lake such as the snake turtle, knife fish, and janitor fish; all of these impair the fishing activities of small-fisherfolk,” Fernando Hicap, PAMALAKAYA Chairperson said in a statement, noting that around 20 fish species no longer exist in the lake since the construction of the NHCS in 1983.
The group said however strict the LLDA would impose the effluent standards, as long as thousands of small and big-time enterprises consistently use the water of Laguna de Bay for their cooling machines, the lake would still remain polluted as ever.
“We are unbent from our position that the real and comprehensive solution to rehabilitate the dying Laguna de Bay is to let saltwater mingle into its waters by permanently opening the Napindan Hydraulic Control Structure. We challenge both the DENR and LLDA, open the NHCS in a period of not less than 6 months and let them observe how the lake will return to its bountiful stage and traditional fish species live in prosper,” ended Hicap. ###
Laguna Lakeshore Road Project nixed
Manila, Philippines – The militant fisherfolk group Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (PAMALAKAYA-Pilipinas) together with its ally environmental group Save Laguna Lake Movement (SLLM) oppose the Laguna Lakeshore Road Network Project, a proposed road project of the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) that would connect Metro Manila to key provincial areas situated along the Laguna de Bay.
The P50-billion road project, according to DPWH, would span 90 kilometers and will link Bicutan in Taguig City to Los Banos, Laguna and several parts of the Rizal province. Its implementation period will start from 2018 to 2026.
For their part, PAMALAKAYA and SLLM said in a joint statement that the road project is a pretext to the Laguna Lakeshore Expressway Dike Project (LLEDP), a P122.8-billion privatization project that was opposed and thwarted by the fisherfolk, environmentalists, and residents of Laguna de Bay during the term of then-President Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino for its disastrous effects to the environment and the fishers.
“The newly-proposed road project in Laguna Lake is nothing but a government’s ploy to complete its longstanding LLEDP dream. Because the LLEDP has been widely exposed to the public of its catastrophic effect to the environment and livelihood of the fisherfolk, the government comes up with a new, different name to pacify the outrage of the people,”
Fisherfolk wants detailed Hungarian rehab plan for Laguna Lake
Manila, Philippines – The national fisherfolk group Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (PAMALAKAYA-Pilipinas) on Tuesday urged the Department of Agriculture (DA) to release into public the complete plan of Hungarian government to rehabilitate the Laguna de Bay by providing P30 billion loan.
The DA will secure the P30-billion loan where bulk of the total amount or about P20 billion will be allocated for the rehabilitation of Laguna de Bay while the remaining P10 billion will be invested for the rubber plant in Mindanao.
In a statement, PAMALAKAYA said they want to acquire the detailed rehabilitation scheme of the Hungarian government in partnership with the DA so the group could study the plan.
The group also warns to spare fishing communities into the cleanup drive, as the government always blames the pollution of the lake to the residents and fishing communities.
Fisherfolk slams 2018 BFAR budget for aquaculture
Manila, Philippines – Questioning why the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) on its proposed 2018 budget parcels out fund for aquaculture program, the militant fisherfolk group Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (PAMALAKAYA-Pilipinas) said this questionable allocation is highly alarming and deserves a thorough scrutiny.
BFAR will get P5.9-billion budget next year, a 10% lower than the 2017 budget. P687.7-million of the said budget will be allotted for aquaculture program.
“We want an explanation from the bureau of fisheries on why would they allot such huge chunk of their one-year budget to aquaculture. Will they invest their agency to this venture that will deprive municipal fisherfolk of their communal fishing grounds and facilitate the pollution of our seas? This budget could be used to other programs like mechanization and improvement of fishing technologies and equipments of small fisherfolk instead of using it for the bureau’s income generating profit,” Fernando Hicap, PAMALAKAYA Chairperson said in a statement.