Laguna de Bay
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.
Fisherfolk staged State of the Fishers’ Address (SOFA) to assess President Duterte
Manila, Philippines – In the form of street press conference, fisherfolk under the group Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (PAMALAKAYA-Pilipinas) on Friday staged its first State of the Fishers’ Address (SOFA) at the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) to deliver their one-year assessment on the administration of President Rodrigo Duterte, as well as to air their concerns regarding the fishing sector that the administration still needs to adhere.
Fisherfolk from Laguna de Bay, Manila Bay and Southern Tagalog region gathered to bring their respective yet common issues besetting their fishing communities. Some of the key points of the assessment were the issue of sovereignty, Laguna Lake rehabilitation, and reclamation of fishing waters.
The fisherfolk group gave a satisfactory rating on President Duterte regarding the Laguna Lake rehabilitation due to his unprecedented order to demolish vast tracts of fish pens in the 90-thousand hectare brackish lake. But the group also criticized the government’s “ningas kugon” approach on the order especially after the Secretary of DENR has been replaced by former military Chief Roy Cimatu where demolition of fish pens has been set aside.
The group urged the present administration of DENR to still pursue the clearing out of fish pens in Laguna de Bay to give time for its ecological system to restore and let the small fisherfolk savor its aquatic resources.
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.
All-out clear-out, not reduction of Laguna de Bay fish pens – group to LLDA
Manila, Philippines – The fisherfolk group Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (PAMALAKAYA-Pilipinas) on Monday urged the Laguna Lake Development Authority (LLDA) to complete the No Fish Pen policy in the 90-thousand hectare Laguna de Bay to give the lake ample time to recover from pollution and congestion cause by private fish pens.
The No Fish Pen policy or the one-year moratorium on fish pens under LLDA Board Resolution 518 is one of President Rodrigo Duterte’s immediate orders when he assumed office last year to rehabilitate the largest lake in the country and to prioritize the small-fisherfolk whom for years have been deprived of their traditional fishing ground due to proliferation of corporate-owned fish pens.
“The LLDA headed by its general manager Jaime Medina seems to revise their Board Resolution by toning down the order from total removal to a mere size reduction of fish pens. Big-time fish pen operators and individuals will take this as an opportunity to retain their aquaculture structures in Laguna de Bay. Reducing the size will do nothing to rehabilitate and clean the lake; it needs an all-out clearing of fish pen structures to give the lake time to unwind,” Fernando Hicap, PAMALAKAYA Chairperson said in a statement.
PAMALAKAYA casts doubt on the partition of total allowable size of fish pen structures where 60% of the 9,200-hectare carrying capacity will be allotted for the small fisherfolk while the remaining 40% will be for the cooperatives and corporations. The group claims that no small-fisherfolk can even afford to build fish structure because of its costly value and given that small-fisherfolk are not earning enough to sustain their daily needs.
Fisherfolk welcomes seed distribution in Laguna de Bay, calls to pursue fishpen demolition
Manila, Philippines – The national fisherfolk alliance Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (PAMALAKAYA-Pilipinas) on Wednesday acknowledged the government’s dispersal of 5 million fingerlings in Laguna de Bay through the Department of Agriculture (DA) and the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR). The restocking of native fish species in the 90-thousand hectare brackish lake is part of the government’s campaign to rehabilitate inland waters such as lakes and rivers.
In a statement, the fisherfolk group said the seeding in Laguna de Bay is a welcome development for this will temporarily support the livelihood of small fisherfolk and fishworkers who were affected by the government’s campaign to demolish vast tracts of fish pens in the lake.
PAMALAKAYA together with environment alliance Save Laguna Lake Movement (SLLM) raised the demand to distribute fingerlings to the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) during the term of its former Secretary Gina Lopez. This is to solve the prevailing problem in the lake of fish catch depletion and to assure the fishworkers who lost livelihood due to fishpen demolition that once they return to open fishing, there will be enough fish to catch.
“We are grateful that the government grants the demand of the fisherfolk for livelihood support. We still call for more fingerling-dispersal drive to convince the fisherfolk to return to traditional mode of fishing instead of being employed in private aquacultures in exchange for paltry allowance,” Fernando Hicap, PAMALAKAYA Chairperson said in a statement.
Fishpen demolition won’t lead to food insecurity, conversion will
Manila, Philippines – The militant fisherfolk group Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (PAMALAKAYA-Pilipinas) on Tuesday clarified that the campaign to demolish vast-tracts of fish pens in Laguna de Bay will not affect the food security in the country as long as it would be followed by a proper rehabilitation of the lake that would bring back its natural ecology.
The government through Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Secretary Gina Lopez is leading a national campaign to liberate the 90-thousand hectare brackish lake from private and corporate-owned fish pens. This is in accordance with President Rodrigo Duterte’s order to let small fisherfolk maximize and benefit from the lake, whom for years have been deprived of their communal fishing grounds due to fish pen proliferation.
Several fish pen structures have been ejected since January including the Gozon-owned fish pens in Cardona, Rizal measuring 100 hectares.
The fisherfolk group seen this campaign as a welcomed development for the restoration of Laguna de Bay for it will initially unwind the lake from further degradation caused by chemical-based pellet feeds use in culturing fish. Read the rest of this entry »