Laguna Lake fishers want LLDA to cancel all newly-approved fishpen-permits
Manila, Philippines – The militant fisherfolk group Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (Pamalakaya-Pilipinas) on Wednesday urged the Laguna Lake Development Authority (LLDA) to cancel all the newly-approved fish pens in Laguna de Bay.
As of May 04, 2016 the LLDA has granted permits to 195 fish pen applicants; 142 of those are corporations, 46 are individuals while 7 are fisherfolk cooperatives. On July, President Duterte ordered the dismantling of large fish pens in Laguna de Bay to give way to the small-fishermen to utilize the waters of Laguna Lake.
“While the LLDA is at the height of dismantling vast fish pens in Laguna de Bay, they should also restrain themselves from issuing permits to large fishing firms and cancel all the existing newly-approved ones,” Fernando Hicap, Pamalakaya Chairperson said in a statement.
The fisherfolk group laments how Laguna Lake fishers have been adversely affected since vast-tract of fish pens proliferate in Laguna Lake waters.
“Large fish pens congest Laguna Lake; it narrows the traditional fishing grounds of the small fishermen that used to be communal before. But now, the 90-thousand hectare brackish lake is partitioned by the tiny fraction of corporations and rich individuals. What happens to the small fishers is that they are huddled over the small portion left,” Hicap said
Hicap also added that fisherfolk are being harassed by fishpen-security guards every time the former comes close to the fish pens.
“Now is the time to declare Laguna de Bay as a ‘no fishpen zone’. Laguna Lake fishers have suffered long enough from this corporate occupation of Laguna de Bay,” Hicap said.
“How futile it is that the LLDA is on a roll in removing fish pens one by one but on the other side has been approving new permits on a wholesale basis. It’s a 2 in 1 duty, while LLDA dismantles large fish pens, they should cancel all the newly-approved permits as well and cease from issuing permits especially to big fishing firms,” Hicap ended.