“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. ###