Laguna Lake “Movement” declared war against plan to build international airport
Dismissing it as a “triple platinum murder”, the environmental alliance Save Laguna Lake Movement (SLMM) and the left-leaning fisherfolk group Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (Pamalakaya) on Thursday declared war against the government plan to build a new international airport at the heart of Southeast Asia’s second largest lake.
In a joint statement signed by SLLM spokesperson Romy Antazo and Pamalakaya national chair Fernando Hicap, the groups vowed to cooperate and help each other in opposing the Rizal International Airport, which is supposed to be constructed after the Laguna Lake Development Authority and the city government of Taguig complete the reclamation of 3,000 hectares submerged public in the Taguig portion of Laguna Lake.
“This triple platinum murder of Laguna Lake must be stopped at all cost. Laguna Lake is already in the Intensive Care Unit, and this project will deliver the death blow, nothing more, nothing less,” both leaders said in the statement.
Both leaders added: “We decry this sell-out of Laguna Lake. This is not development, but a world class murder written and directed by President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and conspiracy with the LLDA chair Edgar Manda and Taguig City mayor Freddie Tinga,” the Pamalakaya and SLMM stressed.
Pamalakaya’s Hicap demanded Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Secretary Joselito Atienza to refrain from issuing an environmental clearance certificate (ECC), warning him of the legal, moral and political repercussions the project would bring to his office.
SLMM Antazo said in December 2008, Malacañang in cooperation with the City of Taguig and LLDA announced their plans to develop some 3,000 hectares of lake waters into a mixed-use property that would include the Rizal International Airport and high-end residential, commercial and recreational zones.
Dubbed as the Lakeshore Project, Taguig City Mayor Freddie Tinga and LLDA General Manager Edgar Manda said once completed, the project is expected to rival the Fort Bonifacio Global City also in the city.
Mayor Tinga said the cost of reclaiming 3,000 hectares of sub-merged public properties in Laguna Lake stands at P 1million per hectare or P 3 billion to displace the lake water from the planned development site, stressing that the total cost of the project would depend on what the private developers intend to develop in the site.
Tinga said the government will start inviting investors and developers in the first quarter of 2009
to bid for the projects and the winner or winners would be announced in the second quarter of next year. He said the construction of the international airport will take 10 to 15 years.
According to master plan of Laguna Lake 2000 project, the government intends to finish the international project by 2025.
Among the top real-estate companies that attended the launching of Lakeshore project were the
representatives of Megaworld Corp., San Miguel Properties, SM Development Corp., Federal Land, Filinvest Land, DMCI Holdings, Eton Greenfield, Sta. Lucia Real Estate Group, Alphaland, Robinsons Land and Century Properties.
Pamalakaya and SLMM said the Lakeshore project that intends to construct the international airport and other world-class infrastructures in Laguna Lake is the main reason why Malacañang and the LLDA are hell bent in evicting some 30,000 fisherfolk and urban poor families in a number of towns of Rizal, National Capital Region and Laguna that surround the lake to give way to
reclamation and construction of dikes, roads and other support infrastructures.
The groups said the first phase of the lakewide development program involves reclamation and
construction of road dikes that will initially displace 32,000 fisherfolk and urban poor families in
Pasig, Cainta, Taytay and Muntinlupa, all in National Capital Region.
To facilitate the entry of foreign investments, the government will first execute the North Laguna
Lakeshore Flood and Drainage System that will involve construction of road and dikes from Taguig to Taytay (9.8 kilometers), Bicutan to Taguig (9.5 kilometers), Sta. Rosa to Calamba City section (28 kilometers) Bay to Sta.Cruz in Laguna (32 kilometers), Siniloan to Kalayaan section (28 kilometers) and Tanay section (10 kilometers).
Pamalakaya and SLLM also said aside from road and dike construction, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) and the LLDA will proceed with the reclamation of lake waters in Taguig (3,000 hectares), Muntinlupa (5,000 hectares) and Los Baños
in Laguna (500 hectares).
Pamalakaya also said the government plans to reclaim thousands of hectares of lake waters from Taytay to Binangonan.
“The LLDA said it wants to save the lake from biological destruction. But the government projects facilitated by the lake authority have further exposed the falsity of President Arroyo’s long running claims that it is really after protection of Laguna Lake and the welfare of the people,” the groups added. #