Fisherfolk to LLDA: What happened to the dismantling of fish pens?
Manila, Philippines – Laguna Lake fishermen under the fisherfolk group Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (Pamalakaya-Pilipinas) demands the Laguna Lake Development Authority (LLDA) to release a report on the status of its campaign against corporate-owned fish pens in Laguna de Bay.
The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) and LLDA recently demolished several fish pens in the 90-thousand hectare brackish water by virtue of President Duterte’s order to dismantle vast tracts of fish pens in Laguna de Bay for the utilization of small fishermen.
According to the LLDA, they have ejected at least 3,000 hectares of fish pen last August, majority were owned by private corporations and individuals. But Pamalakaya earlier questioned its sincerity for the LLDA has approved 193 new fish pen permits last May. The fisherfolk group urged the LLDA to cease and desist from granting new fish pen permits and to unconditionally and indiscriminately demolish fish pens that occupies Laguna de Bay.
Based on the lake’s capacity, it can only occupy 9,000 hectares of fish pens or 10% of its size. But currently, fish pens in Laguna de Bay have reached more than its capacity even by LLDA’s account. Fishpond Lease Agreement (FLA) only allows private individuals and corporations in Laguna de Bay to own up to 50 hectares of fish pens for 25 years. But some giant fishing firms own more than what the law designates.
“Just under the LLDA’s tip of the nose, private corporations like Frabelle Fishing Corp. have managed to own more than 50 hectares of fish pens by using different dummies or exchanging huge commissions with the LLDA officials and local government units,” Roman Antazo, a fisherman from Laguna de Bay and Secretary General of Pamalakaya said in a statement.
Laguna Lake fishers lament on proliferation of fish pens in Laguna Lake because it has resulted to overcrowding and severe pollution of their fishing ground. Pamalakaya wants the complete and full report of the LLDA on how many fish pens were already abolished and how many more are on its list since it started the campaign.
“We have received reports from our members in Laguna de Bay especially in Binangonan, Rizal that some fish pens remain intact despite the government’s campaign to dismantle them.” Antazo ended. ###