THE militant fisherfolk group Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (Pamalakaya) on Monday asked the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) not to revive a mega dike project in Laguna de Bay known as the Laguna Lakeshore Expressway Dike Project (LLEDP).
Fisherfolk, residents, environmentalists and other concerned sectors oppose the project, saying this will pose a grave threat to the already fragile marine environment and species in the 90-thousand hectare lake.
Moreover, they added that around 4.9 million fisherfolk and urban poor families will be deprived of their livelihood if the project is revived.
The LLEDP, which would cost P122.8 billion, was one of the biggest projects of then-President Benigno Aquino 3rd under the Public-Private Partnership (PPP).
It has proposed two component projects: a 47-kilometer expressway dike from the cities of Muntinlupa and Taguig (both in Metro Manila) to Los Banos, Laguna; and the 700-hectare reclamation area intended for commercial, residential and mixed use.
But the project was terminated early last year because of failed bidding and strong resistance from the Laguna lake fishers, settlers and other sectors concerned with the brackish lake.
The DPWH, one of the LLEDP’s implementing agencies, earlier said it would still push through with the construction of the mega dike, which is crucial to the transformation of the Laguna de Bay into an eco-tourism zone.
“The DENR’s initiative to rehabilitate Laguna de Bay through a moratorium on fishpens will become futile unless this mega dike [project]that is a total menace to the lake would be suspended permanently. We hope that fishpen dismantling is not a ribbon-cutting ceremony for the total conversion of the productive fishing water of Laguna de Bay into a money-making eco-tourism hub for business tycoons and the rich,” Fernando Hicap, Pamalakaya chairman, said in a statement.
The fisherfolk group said they are ready to mobilize the Laguna lake chapters to stop the allegedly destructive project from being peddled to private developers and investors.
“We have frustrated this project before, we will again do so 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.