Buhay party-list Rep. Lito Atienza, also senior deputy minority leader, called the attention of President Rodrigo Duterte on the non-implementation of his order to dismantle all fishpens on Laguna de Bay in December last year.
“It’s been almost a month since the President gave the order for the immediate dismantling and clearing of all fishpens and illegal structures from Laguna de Bay. All we are hearing from the Laguna Lake Development Authority (LLD) right now are alibis for failure. If the LLDA is the President’s only source of information, his directive will go nowhere because the LLDA is the main culprit. Nothing was done for the past years under the watch of General Manager Neric Acosta,” Atienza said on Thursday.
He pointed out that the LLDA is the main reason why Laguna de Bay has been overrun by fishpens and illegal structures, leading to its steady degradation.
“The LLDA has allowed the proliferation of these fishpens. These fishpens and the waterlilies clog Laguna de Bay and prevent it from serving as a catch basin for the free flow of rain water. This causes massive flooding in Metro Manila and Southern Tagalog. Moreover, they deprive the small fisherfolk of their livelihood, leaving our fisherfolk the poorest sector of society,” Atienza said.
The lawmaker, a former three-term Manila mayor and Environment secretary, earlier welcomed and expressed full support to Duterte’s directive to clear all illegal structures on Laguna de Bay.
He said the LLDA is not giving an accurate picture of the problem.
Based on the agency’s records only 13,000 hectares of Laguna de Bay are occupied by fishpens – or about 12 percent of the lake’s total area of 99,000 hectares.
“The truth is, one quick pass over the Llke will give a clear picture – over 60 percent is occupied by fishpens, leaving only a fraction of open water for thousands of fisherfolk,” Atienza said.