Dismiss restoration of Laguna lake mega-dike, DPWH told
Manila, Philippines – The acivist fisherfolk group Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (PAMALAKAYA-Pilipinas) on Monday told the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) to reject the revival of the mega dike project in Laguna de Bay, known as the Laguna Lakeshore Expressway Dike Project (LLEDP). The LLEDP was one of the biggest projects of then-President Noynoy Aquino under the Public-Private Partnership (PPP), amounting P122.8 billion.
The LLEDP has two proposed components – a 47-kilometer expressway dike from Muntinlupa, Taguig to Los Banos, Laguna; and the 700-hectare reclamation intended for commercial, residential and mixed use. But the project was terminated early last year due to failed bidding accompanied by strong resistance from the Laguna lake fishers, settlers and other sectors concerned in the brackish lake.
Fisherfolk, residents, environmentalists and other concerned sectors oppose the project because this will pose grave threat to the fragile marine environment and species of the 90-thousand hectare lake. Moreover, around 4.9 million fisherfolk and urban poor families will be wiped out of their livelihood and coastal community.
The DPWH, one of the implementing agencies of the LLEDP has earlier said that it would still push through the construction of the mega dike for it is crucial for the transformation of the Laguna de Bay into eco-tourism zone.
PAMALAKAYA meanwhile said the revival of the mega dike will nullify the initiative of the present administration through the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) to revive and rehabilitate the dying lake through fish pen moratorium and dismantling.
“DENR’s initiative to rehabilitate Laguna de Bay through moratorium on fish pens will become futile unless this mega dike that is a total menace to the lake would be suspended permanently. We hope that fish pen dismantling is not a ribbon-cutting ceremony for the total conversion of the productive fishing water of Laguna de Bay into money-making eco-tourism hub for the business tycoons and the rich,” Fernando Hicap, PAMALAKAYA Chairperson said in a statement.
The fisherfolk group said they are ever ready to mobilize its Laguna lake chapters have this destructive project has been peddled to private developers and investors.
“We have frustrated this project before, we will again in the name of protecting one of the country’s abundant fishing grounds and upholding the economic and political rights of the fisherfolk,” Hicap said.