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. ###
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 group demands aid to the zero-fishpen-affected fishworkers
Manila, Philippines – While it supports the government’s campaign to reopen the 90-thousand hectare-Laguna de Bay to small fisherfolk by dismantling vast-tracts of fish pens, the national fisherfolk alliance Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (PAMALAKAYA-Pilipinas) calls for immediate support to the fish workers employed in the corporate-owned fish pens that will be affected by the demolition of aquaculture structures.
PAMALAKAYA in a statement said those workers were once subsistence and small fishers that were forced to work in corporate-aquacultures due to fish catch depletion in open waters and lack of sufficient fishing gears. Workers in aquaculture are usually stay-in caretakers; they are the ones who maintain the structures, feeding until the harvesting of fish.
The fisherfolk group urges the Laguna Lake Development Authority (LLDA) and the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) to determine the exact numbers of fish workers and fisherfolk directly involved in the aquaculture sector and mobilize immediate economic aid and relief to those who will be affected by the campaign.
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.
Fisherfolk wants LLDA anti-fish pen resolution revised
Manila, Philippines – Responding from the sentiments of the Laguna de Bay fishers that small fish cages and fish traps (baklad) will not be spared from the government’s campaign against wide-fish pens in the 90-thousand hectares brackish lake, the militant fisherfolk group Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (PAMALAKAYA-Pilipinas) demands the Laguna Lake Development Authority (LLDA) to revise its Board Resolution 518.
The Board Resolution No. 518 Series of 2017 was approved on February 1, 2017 in accordance with President Rodrigo Duterte’s order to dismantle vast-tracts of fish pens in Laguna de Bay for the utilization of small and municipal fisherfolk. The Board Resolution states that wide-fish pens, fish cages and fish corrals will be dismantled to restore the lake.
The campaign against wide fish pens was lauded by the small fisherfolk from Laguna de Bay because this will bring back their common fishing grounds that were monopolized by big-aquaculture firms and individuals for years. However, they also fear that even small fish cages and fish traps/corrals known as baklad that are owned by small fisherfolk will be demolished.