Fisherfolk wants detailed Hungarian rehab plan for Laguna Lake
Manila, Philippines – The national fisherfolk group Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (PAMALAKAYA-Pilipinas) on Tuesday urged the Department of Agriculture (DA) to release into public the complete plan of Hungarian government to rehabilitate the Laguna de Bay by providing P30 billion loan.
The DA will secure the P30-billion loan where bulk of the total amount or about P20 billion will be allocated for the rehabilitation of Laguna de Bay while the remaining P10 billion will be invested for the rubber plant in Mindanao.
In a statement, PAMALAKAYA said they want to acquire the detailed rehabilitation scheme of the Hungarian government in partnership with the DA so the group could study the plan.
The group also warns to spare fishing communities into the cleanup drive, as the government always blames the pollution of the lake to the residents and fishing communities.
“While we are open and welcome to support the rehabilitation plan, we first need to see and study its components,”
“We fear that the cleanup drive would mean clearing out of fishing and urban poor communities because until now, the fisherfolk and urban poor residents are being blamed as the top polluter in the lake,”
“We warn Secretary Emanuel Piñol that if the rehabilitation involves demolition of fishing communities, it would face strong opposition and resistance from the fisherfolk and residents of Laguna de Bay,” Fernando Hicap, PAMALAKAYA Chairperson said in a statement.
Laguna de Bay is currently on its deteriorating stage due to several factors; including the proliferation of corporate-owned fishpens that use chemical-based feeds, the dumping of toxic wastes from thousands of factories and establishments situated along the lake, and the existence of the Napindan Hydraulic Control Structure (NHCS) which blocks the entry of salt water into the lake.
“Past and present government and corporate projects have put the lake on its dying stage. If the DA is sincere in addressing the causes of pollution of Laguna de Bay, then they must jump from the start, the construction of the Napindan structure that leads to conversion of the lake from traditional fishing use to commercial purpose,”
“DA must also invest in expediting the ejectment of wide fishpens in the lake while providing alternative livelihood and economic assistance to those who will be affected by the no-fishpen campaign,” Hicap ended. ###