Fishers reject Maynilad plan to tap Laguna Lake as water source

Fishers reject Maynilad plan to tap Laguna Lake as water source
Extremely dangerous, says Pamalakaya

The Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (Pamalakaya) and the multisectoral group Save Laguna Lake Movement (SLLM) on Sunday rejected the plan of water concessionaire Maynilad Water Services Inc. to tap Laguna Lake as a water source for
the cities of Muntinlupa, Parañaque, Las Piñas and Bacoor in Cavite province.

“This mega corporate escapade of Maynilad is extremely dangerous to the lake environment and highly revolting to the people and communities that surround the lake.
It is privatization and conversion to the highest level,” said Pamalakaya national chair Fernando Hicap
said in a press statement.

Hicap, also the national convener of SLLM said the proposed plan of Maynilad will automatically pave the
way for the closure of Napindan Hydraulic Control System, which will prevent the entry of salt water
from Manila Bay.

The Pamalakaya leader said fish and water species in Laguna Lake requires the mixing of salt and fresh waters to spawn and survive.

“Allowing Maynilad to transform Laguna Lake into a water source for Metro Manila and nearby provinces
will deliver the death blow to the already fragile lake,” said Hicap.

The Pamalakaya leader said the Maynilad plan is like a death certificate to Laguna Lake killing not only the livelihood of more than 500,000 people engage in fish
capture and fish culture activities. He said it will also endanger the fish supply and the fish need of millions of people in the National Capital Region,
Laguna and Rizal provinces.

Pamalakaya and SLLM said despite of the present sorry state of Laguna Lake as Southeast Asia’s second
largest lake, it is capable of producing at least 50,000 metric tons of fish per year, enough to address the fish requirement of not less than 10 million
people.

According to Laguna Lake Development Authority (LLDA),
the Lopez owned Maynilad is now seeking its approval to use the lake as a domestic water source for Metro
Manila and Bacoor.

In order to arrest a forthcoming shortage of potable water in the future, the LLDA said, the water firm has asked permission to extract about 300 million liters per day from the lake.

Citing the study conducted by the Netherlands government for the LLDA, it said Laguna De Bay, being the largest lake in the Philippines and strategically located in the heart of Calabarzon region, is the most
viable source of water for Metro Manila’s west zone.

Maynilad, which is authorized water concessionaire of the Manila Water Sewerage System (MWSS) for the
western part of Metro Manila, said the proposed plan if approved will enable the Lopez water utility firm
to supply water to the remaining 29 percent covered by its agreement with MWSS in the West Zone area.

At present, Maynilad renders water supply to about 703,519 customers, or only 71 percent of its total concession area. The rest of the west zone does not have enough water supply — mainly comprising the
areas of Muntinlupa, Parañaque, and Las Piñas.

The LLDA said if it gives the go signal Maynilad will take over operations of the existing water treatment
plant in Putatan, Muntinlupa, which currently extracts 180,000 cubic meters per month of lake water and then supplies it to the Ayala Alabang subdivision for the residents’ domestic use.

Maynilad will gradually implement the
300-million-liters-per-day extraction of water from the Lake. The first 100 million liters per day will be made available to the west zone of Metro Manila in 2010 and then water extraction will be increased to
200 million liters in 2011, and then 300 million liters per day by 2014. #

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