THE fisher folk alliance Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (Pamalakaya) on Friday urged incoming Public Works secretary Mark Villar to block the revival of the terminated Laguna Lakeshore Expressway Dike Project (LLEDP) to save some 3.9 million fisher folk and urban poor families from losing their livelihood.
The LLEDP was supposedly the biggest project of outgoing President Benigno Aquino 3rd under the Public-Private Partnership program amounting to P123 billion.
The project has two components – a 47-kilometer expressway dike that will start from Muntinlupa City, then Taguig City to Los Baños in Laguna province; and the 700-hectare reclamation for mixed use. It was terminated during Aquino’s term owing to the bidders’ several concerns and strong resistance from fisher folk and residents living along the lake.
The Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH), one of the implementing agencies of the LLEDP, earlier said they will revive the project during the incoming administration as this is a crucial endeavor in Laguna de Bay.
Noting that Villar’s family firm was one of the qualified bidders to the defunct project, Pamalakaya said, all the more reason for the newly appointed Secretary to reject any attempt to reinstall it.
“He must disprove that his appointment to the DPWH post will give his family’s business interests’ advantage by tightening the noose on any attempt at reviving the LLEDP, and all the reclamation projects that are destructive to the fisher folk and the environment.” Salvador France, Pamalakaya’s vice-chairperson, said in a statement.
The group claimed that around 3.9 million fisher folk and urban poor families will be grimly affected if the project is pursued. This will also put the dying lake into its deathbed.