THE Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PCCI) fully supports the government initiative not to renew the permits of fishpen operators in Laguna Lake that expired in December 2016.
The announcement by Environment Secretary Regina Lopez that the government will dismantle big fishpens in the lake starting January 2017 was a welcome development, the chamber noted and promised to support the plan to convert Laguna Lake into an eco-tourism zone.
Such initiatives go a long way in preserving Laguna Lake as an important resource in the country, PCCI president George Barcelon said.
Laguna Lake provides fisherfolk with livelihood and serves as source of water for households and agricultural irrigation.
Felipe Gozon, PCCI director for environment and climate, noted that the government should look into the conditions of other lakes such as Taal Lake.
“We need to preserve these lakes as they are major sources of fresh water and are rich in biodiversity,” Gozon said.
More than reducing the fishpens and cages to ensure the sustainability of aquatic resources, the PCCI officials said the Laguna Lake Development Authority (LLDA) should come up with a master plan addressing domestic waste, urban run-off and agricultural pollution.
LLDA data showed that 81 percent of pollution come from households and 19 percent from industries.
As the largest business organization in the country, the PCCI can help LLDA formulate the master plan.
The 90,000-hectare, freshwater Laguna Lake is the largest inland body of water in Southeast Asia.
As a watershed, some 21 rivers converge into it.