Fisherfolk slams CA-ruling on Laguna Lake fishpens
Manila, Philippines – The militant fisherfolk group Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (PAMALAKAYA-Pilipinas) on Sunday slams the Court of Appeals (CA) over its decision to abort the government’s campaign against vast-tracts of fishpens in the 90-thousand hectare Laguna de Bay, saying the decision is a complete turnaround on the order of President Rodrigo Duterte to open the biggest lake to small-fisherfolk.
Based on the report of the Laguna Lake Development Authority (LLDA), at least 1,600 hectares of privately-owned fishpens have been demolished since the government launched an unprecedented campaign against wide fishpens in Laguna de Bay last year to pave way for the restoration of the polluted lake and bring back the traditional common use of its fishing waters to small-fisherfolk.
“We are enraged by the treacherous ruling of the Court of Appeals, the Laguna Lake fisherfolk have been looking forward for the complete clearing of fishpens in the lake. For years, the Laguna de Bay have been occupied by wide fishpens owned by fishing corporations and private individuals including ex-military generals and local politicians. The CA-ruling shows that vested interest of few giant fishing firms and individuals prevail over the collective clamor of fisherfolk for their right to fishing grounds,” Fernando Hicap, PAMALAKAYA Chairperson said in a statement, also blaming the proliferation of fishpens for the pollution of the lake because it uses chemical based feeds to culture fish.
The group also lashed out at the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) and its attached agency, the LLDA for failing to uphold the campaign that was started by former DENR Secretary Gina Lopez.
“We hold DENR Secretary Roy Cimatu accountable for this complete turnaround on Laguna Lake policy; ever since he replaced Gina Lopez, we have not seen any sincerity that he will uphold the genuine rehabilitation of Laguna de Bay through dismantling of fishpens and addressing other pollution issues that contribute to the degradation of the lake,”
“We reiterate our call for a complete ejectment of privately-owned fishpens in Laguna de Bay and pursue its proper rehabilitation that will bring back its traditional fishing use for the benefit of small fisherfolk and people living around the lake,” ended Hicap. ###