‘Reclamation as usual’ in Rizal part of Laguna de Bay
Angono, Rizal – Local chapter of the fisherfolk group Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (Pamalakaya) in Angono, Rizal laments that dumping of waste and landfill in the Angono part of Laguna de Bay are still ongoing even after dialogue with the Laguna Lake Development Authority (LLDA) and the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) on October 7.
Under the Angono local government’s ‘zero squatter program’, it consistently reclaims some of its coastal areas using landfill combinations of toxic industrial, domestic and bio-hazard wastes. The ‘Kalayaan Angono Dream Neighborhood Association’ or KANDRENAI in its Brgy. Kalayaan is a 5-hectare urban poor community composed of almost 300 families. It was once a portion of the 90-thousand hectare Laguna de Bay but during the 90s, the local government started dumping wastes and land onto the water and later on became a housing project.
“Contrary to LLDA’s statement during our dialogue last week, dumping of wastes and land in Laguna de Bay continues. Reclamation of Laguna de Bay using various wastes pollutes the lake even more and destroys the fishing grounds and the environment,” Avelina Anie, member of Pamalakaya in Angono, Rizal.
Every day, the residents inhale the unpleasant smell that the lake emits. It gravely affects the health of the residents especially the children.
“Every breath we take is a rancid smell from the fuming decomposing garbage dumped onto the waters of Laguna de Bay. We fear that it might also contaminate the fish and other marine resources found in the lake due to pollution,” Anie said.
During the dialogue, the LLDA said it has already closed all the reclamation activities in Laguna de Bay, but the fisherfolk refuted the statement.
The dialogue, through Assistant Secretary for Civil Society of the DENR Andy Moran assured the fisherfolk that it will study and release a memorandum order on the moratorium of all coastal-conversion including Manila Bay and Laguna de Bay.
“We strongly urge the LLDA and DENR to urgently stop all the reclamation activities happening right under their tip of the nose and enforce a genuine rehabilitation that will bring back the abundance of Laguna de Bay and will benefit the fishers and other dependents,” Anie said.
According to LLDA, since 2012, more than 150 hectares of Laguna de Bay have already been reclaimed for private infrastructure and commercial use.