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 »
Laguna lake fishers laud recent fish-pen demolitions, urge for speedy removal of vast
Manila, Philippines – The Laguna lake chapter of the fisherfolk group Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (PAMALAKAYA-Pilipinas) together with the environment alliance Save Laguna Lake Movement (SLLM) laud the recent demolition of several corporate-owned fish pens in the 90-thousand hectares brackish lake.
The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) spearheaded the two series of demolitions of wide fish pens on January 27 and February 24 where 3 fish pen structures covering 50 hectares each and 1 fish pen covering 25 hectares were dismantled, namely the two Gozon-owned fish pens in Cardona, Rizal, the Seven Eleven Fishing Corporation and the Habagat Multipurpose Cooperative in Binangonan, Rizal respectively.
PAMALAKAYA said so far, no small fish cages and fish traps/corals (baklad) have been subject to ejectment but they reiterate their call to spare those small fish structures owned by small fisherfolk and some fisherfolk cooperatives because it serves as their alternative livelihood to open fishing since the latter is not sustainable enough due to dwindling of fish catch.
Laguna lake fishers, advocates picketed LLDA, DENR to demand rapid fish-pen
Manila, Philippines – The militant fisherfolk group Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (PAMALAKAYA-Pilipinas) together with environmental alliance Save Laguna Lake Movement (SLLM) on Monday staged a picket in the offices of the Laguna Lake Development Authority (LLDA) and the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) to demand the immediate and unconditional dismantling of wide fish pens owned by large corporations and individuals in Laguna de Bay.
Vast-tracts of fish pens in the 90-thousand-hectare brackish lake are now illegal after the government ceases from issuance of permits in line with its campaign to dismantle fish pens in Laguna de Bay to give way for the utilization of small fishers who have been deprived of their common fishing grounds for years due to fish pen proliferation and congestion.
Conservative data from the LLDA shows that there are approximately 13,000 hectares of private fish pens situated in Laguna de Bay. But deeper study conducted by PAMALAKAYA and SLLM claims that 60% of the size of Laguna de Bay is currently occupied by private fish pens.
PAMALAKAYA and SLLM welcome the government’s anti-fish pen campaign, but said it should be done hastily for the small fishers eagerly await their fishing zone to be reopened again for common use.
Spare ‘baklad’, small fish cages from demolition – fisherfolk group
Manila, Philippines – The fisherfolk group Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (PAMALAKAYA-Pilipinas) told the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DERN) and the Laguna Lake Development Authority (LLDA) to exclude ‘baklad’ or fish traps owned and operated by municipal fishermen from the government’s campaign against enclosed fish pen and fish cages in Laguna de Bay.
The moratorium of fish pen permit in Laguna de Bay starts this year in accordance with President Rodrigo Duterte’s order to dismantle vast-tract of fish pens in the 90-thousand hectare brackish lake for the utilization of small fishermen who have long been deprived of their communal fishing grounds due to fish pen proliferation.
‘Baklad’ is a kind of fish trap used by small fishers to capture fish and other marine species. Some small fishers in Laguna de Bay have resort to building ‘baklad’ because open fishing is not that suitable due to fish catch depletion caused by gradual deterioration of the lake. Nowadays, the average fish catch in Laguna de Bay is 2-3 kilos per day compared to 10-15 kilos per day before the lake deteriorates.
Dismiss restoration of Laguna lake mega-dike, DPWH told
Manila, Philippines – The acivist fisherfolk group Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (PAMALAKAYA-Pilipinas) on Monday told the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) to reject the revival of the mega dike project in Laguna de Bay, known as the Laguna Lakeshore Expressway Dike Project (LLEDP). The LLEDP was one of the biggest projects of then-President Noynoy Aquino under the Public-Private Partnership (PPP), amounting P122.8 billion.
The LLEDP has two proposed components – a 47-kilometer expressway dike from Muntinlupa, Taguig to Los Banos, Laguna; and the 700-hectare reclamation intended for commercial, residential and mixed use. But the project was terminated early last year due to failed bidding accompanied by strong resistance from the Laguna lake fishers, settlers and other sectors concerned in the brackish lake.
Fisherfolk, residents, environmentalists and other concerned sectors oppose the project because this will pose grave threat to the fragile marine environment and species of the 90-thousand hectare lake. Moreover, around 4.9 million fisherfolk and urban poor families will be wiped out of their livelihood and coastal community.
The DPWH, one of the implementing agencies of the LLEDP has earlier said that it would still push through the construction of the mega dike for it is crucial for the transformation of the Laguna de Bay into eco-tourism zone.
“Hands off Laguna de Bay!”, business group told
Manila, Philippines – The country’s largest business group Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PCCI) has earned the ire of the militant fisherfolk group Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (PAMALAKAYA-Pilipinas) over the former’s meddling on the Laguna de Bay rehabilitation and master plan.
The PCCI has expressed its support over the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) order to dismantle fish pens in the 90-thousand hectares brackish lake which will commence this year, saying they could also help in transforming the country’s largest lake into eco-tourism and business hub. But the fisherfolk group casts doubt about the business group’s intention over Laguna de Bay.
“Thanks but no thanks to these businessmen. Laguna lake fishers and settlers don’t need their backing. PCCI has nothing to do with the master plan and development of Laguna de Bay for no less than the municipal fishermen and settlers who are the user-manager of the lake are the ones who know and are capable to revive the dying lake. It’s the past administrations’ projects and programs that put the lake at its dying stage in the first place,” Fernando Hicap, PAMALAKAYA Chairperson said in a statement.
The fisherfolk group disproves PCCI’s statement that domestic wastes are the primary reason behind Laguna de Bay pollution, saying industrial, commercial and government projects through widespread reclamation activities are the overall culprits behind the destruction of the lake. Thousands of factories and commercial establishments situated along the lake have been irreverently dumping its various wastes in the lake for years now. While rampant reclamation activities in several parts of Laguna de Bay have aggravated the worsening condition of the lake.
“Blaming the residents as the main factor behind Laguna de Bay pollution might lead to their displacement in the guise of preserving the lake. We fear that letting this group of businessmen intrude into Laguna de Bay affairs would lead to total conversion of our productive fishing zone into their money-making ventures that could also put the lake at its final death bed,” Hicap ended. ###