Militants asked LLDA chief to step down

Militants asked LLDA chief to step down

The left-leaning fisherfolk alliance Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (Pamalakaya) and the multisectoral group Save Laguna Lake Movement (SLLM) on Tuesday pressed for the resignation of Laguna Lake Development Authority (LLDA) General Manager Edgar Manda for alleged betrayal of national interest and public trust.

Pamalakaya national chair and SLLM national convenor Fernando Hicap asked Manda to step down and called for the abolition of LLDA, a day after the lake authority chief announced that the LLDA enter into a formal contract with Maynilad within 30 to 45 days regarding the conversion of lake waters into potable water.

“Mr. Manda the point person and top moneymaking man of Malacañang and the ruling Arroyo camp in LLDA is guilty of national sell-out and betrayal of the people’s collective interest. One way of stopping this hearts stopping and nerve wracking deal is to compel the LLDA manager to resign and the abolition of this anti-fisherfolk and anti-environment agency,” the outraged Pamalakaya leader said.

The LLDA top official on Monday denied Pamalakaya observation that the 90,000 hectare lake is being privatized with the looming LLDA-Maynilad water deal. Manda said the deal with Maynilad will only cover the Lopez-owned water utility firm’s takeover of the existing facility in Putatan, Muntinlupa to convert lake water into potable water from the existing 186,000 liter capacity to 3 million liter capacity daily.

Maynilad said the water treatment facility will produce 100 million waters of liters everyday to be distributed to consumers in Alabang, Bayanan, Poblacion, Putatan, Tunasan and New Alabang. The contract will also allow Maynilad to service water needs of commercial, industrial and consumers in Las Piñas, Muntinlupa, Parañaque and Bacoor in Cavite.

“Mr. Manda in the name of his benefactors in and out of Malacañang will be committing one of the most serious crimes against humanity and against the environment by signing this unwarranted contract with Maynilad. He should step down now and have the LLDA abolished,” the Pamalakaya leader added.

Pamalakaya and SLLM learned that the office of DENR Secretary Atienza phoned LLDA ON Monday to inform the lake authority that their groups have started making noise against the LLDA-Maynilad water deal. The groups also learned that phone call was made to LLDA to prod the lake agency that it should make a quick response against Pamalakaya’s opposition to the water deal.

“It seems there is a conspiracy between and among Malacañang, the DENR and the LLDA. DENR’s phone call to LLDA suggests that,” said Pamalakaya.

“Mr. Atienza, the no.1 seller and corporate pimp of the Arroyo presidency is hereby warned by public interest against granting an ECC to the LLDA-Maynilad joint water adventure in Laguna Lake. This government must be stopped from making sweepstakes like money, super profits and huge kickbacks at the expense of the people and the environment,” the fishers group added.

Likewise Pamalakaya and SLMM reiterated their call to Manda to back off from the looming deal with Maynilad despite the fact that although under Republic Act 4850, the LLDA is authorized to issue permits for the use and abstraction of lake water, it is not authorized to perform acts that are deemed to destroy the ecological balance and very nature of Laguna Lake.

“The LLDA is not authorize to sell Laguna Lake and change its orientation and social purpose in the name of corporate interests, accumulation of capital and vested interests of people in and out of Malacañang,” the group said.

Pamalakaya said under the looming LLDA-Maynilad deal, the Lopez owned water utility will extract 300 million liters per day (MLD) from Laguna Lake ,which it said is extremely dangerous to the lake environment. The group said the proposal will entail the closure of Napindan Hydraulic control system, preventing the entry of salt water of Manila Bay. He said fish species in Laguna Lake requires the mixing of salt and fresh water to spawn and survive.

The fisherfolk group 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. Pamalakaya 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. #

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