Tag Archives: Atienza

DENR chief told: GMA, not LGU has last say on Mindoro mining project

By Margie Duran Floresco, contributor

Manila, Philippines-Leftwing militants belonging to the fisherfolk alliance Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (Pamalakaya) on Sunday said the statement of Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) secretary Joselito Atienza that local government unit of Mindoro has the last say on the controversial nickel project on the island was misleading and extremely absurd.

“That’s not true, that’s not true. The mining project in Mindoro Island is a national flagship project and therefore, President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo has the last and final say on whether this nickel extraction escapade in the island should proceed or not,” said Pamalakaya national chair Fernando Hicap in a press statement.

Hicap said local government officials can voice their opposition to Intex Resources nickel exploration, but it is still President Arroyo who will decide whether to allow or disallow the Norwegian mining giant to push through with its’ project.

“The nickel project has the seal of approval of Malacanang and was billed as one of the flagship projects of the Macapagal-Arroyo administration. If Atienza wants to kill the project he should have revoked the environmental compliance certificate (ECC) issued on Oct.14 by his office and tell Mrs. Arroyo to stop this corporate madness for the sake of the environment and collective interest of the people,” the Pamalakaya leader added.

Atienza said the ECC granted to Intex Resources was just one of the requirements for the nickel mining project to commence and it us up to the local government if they allow the project to proceed. The environment secretary explained that could not arbitrarily cancel the ECC given to Intex because there are laws to follow, stressing that the cancellation of ECC will send wrong a signal to foreign investors.

But Atienza said that if the project is proven to cover a watershed area, as claimed by those who opposed to the project, then the ECC would be automatically moot in accordance with the law.

But Pamalakaya’s Hicap rebuked Atienza, and charged the environment secretary of gambling people’s lives and environment in the name of the government’s obsession for mining investments and fat commissions.

“How come the ECC of Intex Resources was approved by DENR? How come the people were not consulted? Mr. Atienza is not an expert on environmental concern as far as the Filipino public is concerned. He is just a limelight getter or an attention getter from boxing champ Manny Pacquiao,” Hicap added.

Meanwhile, Pamalakaya appealed to the Norwegian government to compel Intex Resources to pullout its mining investment in Mindoro, citing the disastrous impact of the project, which will initially displace around 20,000 residents, mostly members of the Mangyan tribe.

“The Norwegian government should convince Intex Resources to drop its mining investment in Mindoro like a hot potato. This project will put the European state in a very, very bad position and standing in the international community. While we recognize and pay high respect to the efforts of the Norwegian government as third party facilitator to the peace talks between the Manila government and the communist led National Democratic Front of the Philippines, we do not subscribe to this kind of destructive escapade,” the group said.

The militant group commended Mindoro Oriental Gov. Arman Panaligan and Vice-Governor Estela Aceron for sticking to their position against the nickel mining project in the island. But Pamalakaya advised the two top local government officials of the island province to bring the battle of the island people against the mining project to Malacanang Palace.

“The fight against the mining project should not stop at Secretary Atienza. The next and the penultimate battle should reach Malacanang and President Arroyo, since the Chief Executive and her policy on liberalized and all-out mining should be blamed for the current woes suffered by the people of Mindoro,” added Pamalakaya. #

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(UPDATE)Southern Tagalog farmers say new land reform law will bring catastrophes to land tillers

by Axel Pinpin, contributor

Manila, Philippines – The militant KASAMA-TK (Katipunan ng mga Samahang Magbubukid sa Timog Katagalugan) expressed dismay over the extension of 20-year old Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP) and warned of massive re-concentration of land to the hands of big landlords and foreign companies in the country.

“In the midst of destruction and damaged brought by typhoon Ondoy to the agriculture sector in the region, we should gear for more catastrophic events that will be brought by CARP Extension with Reforms (CARPER),” Imelda Lacandazo, spokesperson of KASAMA-TK said during a picket-protest in front of the Department of Agrarian Reform in Quezon City where more than a hundred of farmers staged a die-in to dramatized their condition.

The Provincial Agriculture Office in Laguna reported that 7,300 hectares of rice field were submerged during the height of flood caused by the overflowing of Laguna Lake that leads to a 21% reduction of the total production of rice in the province.
Lacandazo noted that even before the typhoon, rice fields in Laguna were already flooded leaving the farmers in destitute after the cropping season.

According to the group, this situation is aggravated by high land rental and usury, low wages of farm workers and low-prices of agricultural produce.

Earlier, the group picketed in front of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources while their leaders are presenting the group’s demand in a dialogue with Sec. Lito Atienza. They are pressing the DENR to stop the construction of Laiban Dam in Tanay, Rizal saying that it will displace indigenous people in nine communities.

The group is also calling to immediately discontinue the R1 Coastal Road Extension Project in Bacoor, Cavite adding that 100,000 families will lost their houses and source of livelihood.

“Kailan pa matututo ang gubyerno sa mga mapangwasak nilang proyekto? Kitang-kita naman na kung hindi sa mga diumano’y proyektong pangkaunlaran ng gubyerno, hindi sana natin sasapitin ang mga ganitong kalamidad,” Pedro Gonzales, secretary general of Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamalakaya in Southern Tagalog (PAMALAKAYA-TK) stated in his speech during the rally.

Gonzales also blamed the Laguna Lake Development Authority for its negligence in controlling the structures built along the shore of the lake that caused flooding in the nearby communities.

The leaders of KASAMA-TK and their provincial chapters held a dialogue with the secretary of DAR to discuss several agrarian disputes in the Southern Tagalog region.

The agrarian cases, according to Lacandazo, have long been keeping the farmers landless in spite of the implementation of the bogus CARP. She mentioned the Hacienda Yulo in Laguna, Camella Homes owned by Manny Villar in Batangas and Ayala Properties in Cavite among others.

“The conditions of the farmers are miserable, with the CARPER now signed into RA 9700, it will be wretched,” the group added.

Meanwhile, about 1,000 calamity farmer victims in Central Luzon and Southern Tagalog region on Tuesday night are gearing up for a rural camp-out at the national office of the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) to press their 10-point immediate demand to Malacanang, the DAR and the Department of Agriculture, which they argued will address the rural crisis worsened by storm Ondoy and typhoon Pepeng.

In a joint press statement, the Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP), Anakpawis party list, the Alyansa ng Magbubukid ng Gitnang Luzon (AMGL) and the Katipunan ng mga Samahang Magbubukid sa Timog Katagalugan (Kasama-TK) will present the set of demands on the eve of their long march from DAR to Malacanang on Oct.21 dubbed as Farmers’ March for Land, Justice and Rehabilitation”

KMP secretary general Danilo Ramos said the devastating impact of typhoon Ondoy and Pepeng is best addressed by the following measures:

1. Free distribution of land to landless and land lacking farmers all over the country. In particular, farmers from Central Luzon represented by AMGL demanded the immediate and unconditional free distribution of 375 hectares of land in San Miguel, Bulacan allegedly landgrabbed by Rep. Luis Villafuerte, the 3,100 hectares of prime agricultural lands inside the Fort Magsaysay Military Reservation and the 6,453 hectare Hacienda Luisita owned by the family of the late President Corazon Aquino in Tarlac province.

In Southern Tagalog, peasant groups demanded the free distribution of all agricultural lands owned and controlled by rich families like the Ayalas and the Yulos in the region. Kasama-TK also pressed the government to stop all Calabarzon projects in Southern Tagalog, including the controversial Laiban dam project.

2. Support housing projects for farmers and rural people whose homes were destroyed or uprooted at the height of tropical storm Ondoy and typhoon Pepeng.
3. Rehabilitation of farms and granting of seeds and seedlings for rice, corn, vegetables and d other farm crops
4. Financial grant of about P 10,000 to P 15,000 per hectare
5. Zero interest credit line to the Land Bank of the Philippines amounting to P 10,000 to
P 15,000 per hectare
6. Provisions for farm implements such as tractors, hand tractors and carabaos.
7. Setting up of potable water supply.
8. Moratorium on irrigation fees imposed by the National Irrigation Authority and private irrigation systems.
9. Livelihood to rural people
10. Automatic repudiation of farm debts, if not moratorium in payment of principals and interests on acquired loans from landlords and local financial institutions. (With reports from Roy Morilla and Bb.Joyce Cabral

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Lake groups launch 10k signature drive vs. NCHS

By Ms Sugar Hicap and Billy Javier Reyes

Lakeshore groups in Rizal and Laguna provinces belonging to the activist fisherfolk alliance Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (Pamalakaya), its regional chapter Pamalakaya-Southern Tagalog and the multi-sectoral environmental group Save Laguna Lake Movement (SLMM) has launched a signature drive seeking the immediate and conditional dismantling of Napindan Hydraulic Control Structure (NCHS), which the groups blamed the massive flooding of lake towns around Laguna Lake.

In a joint press statement, Pamalakaya and SLMM said the Laguna Lake and its people will always be in state of across-the-lake flooding and constant danger, unless, the national government and lake authorities decide the dismantling of the structure, which it said is the biggest obstruction to the smooth and logical flow of flood waters to Manila Bay.

Pamalakaya national chair and SLLM convener Fernando Hicap said anti-NCHS groups hope to gather at least 10,000 signatures and will submit these to Senate and the House of Representatives once Congress resumes session next month.

“10,000 signatures will be enough to convince lawmakers about the necessity of removing this structure from Laguna Lake. If that is not enough, then we will gather more and engage in pound-for-pound fight for the dismantling of Napindan hydraulic monster,” Hicap added.

The Pamalakaya leader said signatures for the dismantling of NCHS will come from several towns of Rizal, Laguna and on the part of the National Capital Region, the signatures will come from Taguig, Pateros and Muntinlupa.

The signature campaign will also ask the national government and the local government units to put an end to all reclamation and road dike projects along Laguna Lake, which Hicap said is also one of the factors why Laguna Lake swallowed 30 towns in the lake , because these projects also prevented the smooth flow of waters in the 90,000 hectare-lake on its way to Pasig River and then to Manila Bay.

The 10,000 signature campaign will also demand the formation of independent body that will investigate and will look into the current state of Laguna Lake. The groups suggested that the body shall be composed of representatives from the Philippine Senate, the House of Representatives, the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) and the other church organizations, environmental groups and experts, representatives from people’s organizations. Leaders of Pamalakaya and SLLM eye Supreme Court Chief Justice Reynato Puno to head the probe body.

Pamalakaya and SLLM asserted that towns surrounding Laguna Lake were already submerged in waters ahead of the arrival of tropical storm Ondoy.

Reports from field coordinators of Pamalakaya and SLMM in Rizal and Laguna provinces said fisherfolk and lakeshore residents had already noticed the rising water level in Laguna Lake and excess waters had spilled along in 30 towns in Rizal and Laguna provinces, and in the National Capital Region before Ondoy pounded heavy rains on September 26.

“The disaster is bound to happen. It is a perfect storm in the making because the Laguna Lake Development Authority (LLDA) refuses to open the NCHS that will dispose excess waters in the lake. Tropical storm Ondoy only fast tracked the commencement of the super calamity,” they said.

Hicap lamented: “We have been sending hundreds of notices to LLDA General Manager Edgar Manda that the lake authority should open NCHS to prevent the happening of a Great Flood all over the lake and in Metro Manila, but Mr. Manda is either not listening to this fearless forecast, or he is not doing his assignment or he is ignorant of the issue and its consequences to more than 6 million lakeshore people.”

“Where will Mrs. Arroyo and Mr. Manda relocate the people of Laguna Lake? In the moon? In the purgatory? ” the Pamalakaya leader asked.

The NHCS was built in 1983 to prevent or lessen the increase of salinity from Manila Bay and pollution from the Pasig River from entering Laguna de Bay during times of reverse flow. The NHCS is found on the confluence of Marikina and Pateros-Taguig rivers with Pasig River. This confluence is also the downstream endpoint of the Napindan Channel, which is the upper part of Pasig River that connects to Laguna de Bay.

Aside from preventing the reverse flow of Pasig River, the NHCS is also used for flood control. During the rainy season, most of the flooding along the Pasig River area is due to the increased water flow coming from Marikina River.

The Manggahan Floodway in Pasig City was constructed to divert much of this water from Marikina River directly into Laguna de Bay. By also closing the NHCS during times of rain, the water is effectively dammed in Laguna de Bay preventing it from flooding the downstream portions of Pasig River (with reports from Lollipop de los Reyes and Gerry Albert Corpuz). #

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Fishers group urges House, Senate to prioritize Laguna Lake probe too

By Billy Javier Reyes and Rey Manangan

Binangonan, Rizal- The lake wide fishers group Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (Pamalakaya) and staunch ally- the multisectoral alliance Save Laguna Lake Movement (SLLM) on Thursday urged leaders of the Philippine Senate and the House of Representatives to also prioritize the legislative inquiry on Laguna Lake which is still under 14.5 meter deep since tropical storm Ondoy hit the country on Sept.26.

“Today is Oct.16 or about 20 days since storm Ondoy turned Laguna Lake into a virtual water world. Do we need 40 days before Congress takes up an inquiry on the ill-fated 90,000 hectare lake? Excuse us, but Laguna Lake, its people and environment are not dead to wait for 40-day ritual,” Pamalakaya national chair Fernando Hicap said in a press statement.

Hicap added: “Let me remind our lawmakers that 30 towns and cities of Rizal and Laguna provinces and the National Capital Region were swallowed by Laguna Lake at the height of storm Ondoy affecting 2.2 million out of the 6 million fisherfolk and lake shore population. But the investigation is not moving as if the issue on hand is just a dime-a-dozen concern”.

The Pamalakaya leader noted that only a handful of lawmakers agreed to their proposal for an all-out investigation on the current state of Laguna Lake. They are Senator Jamby Madrigal in the Senate, Muntinlupa Rep. Ruffy Biazon and militant party list lawmakers Satur Ocampo, Teddy Casino and Neri Colmenaras of Bayan Muna, Luzviminda Ilagan and Liza Maza of Gabriela Women’s Party, Raymond Palatino of Kabataan Party and Rafael Mariano and Joel Maglunsod of Anakpawis party list.

“The Senate has 23 senators and the House of Representatives has 255 congressmen. But only a few good men and women managed to rise above the occasion. It is not too late for the leadership of both Houses and their peers to come to their senses and start the ball rolling on Laguna Lake catastrophe,” added Hicap.

The lake-based groups said Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile and House Speaker Prospero Nograles should discourage members of the Senate and the House from going into vacation or abroad and instead call for special sessions that will look into the impacts of storm Ondoy and typhoon Pepeng and root the causes of the twin catastrophe that plagued the almost entire island of Luzon. Both houses are set to have their recess on Oct.15.

“No more foreign trips please, and the lawmakers should continue their legislative work by pursuing these investigations in aid of legislation and by going back to their respective districts and find out the needs of their devastated constituents,” Hicap added.

Prior to typhoon Ondoy, Pamalakaya and SLLM asserted that towns and cities surrounding the lake were already flooded. The groups attributed the flooding to the closure of the NCHS that prevented excess waters of Laguna Lake from passing through Pasig River on its way to Manila Bay. Both groups said at the height of typhoon Ondoy, the Napindan channel was still closed impounding more waters to the lake and later spilled to 30 towns in Rizal, Laguna and Metro Manila.

Last week, the Social Action Center of San Pablo City in Laguna said the mass flooding affected 20 towns of Laguna, excluding several towns in Rizal province and had displaced around 750,248 people mostly fisherfolk, farmers and urban poor.

The most affected towns are the towns of Binan where 45,125 families or 198,700 people were displaced, followed by San Pedro (25,606 families or 153,636 people affected), Sta.Cruz (20, 498 families or 102,590 people displaced) Sta. Rosa (14,951 families or 77,052 people displaced), Cabuyao (7,670 families or 46,001 persons affected), Calamba (8,024 families or 33, 819 people affected) and Los Banos (5,496 families or 29,730 people displaced.

Pamalakaya and SLLM suggested the following names and offices to be invited or subpoenaed for the congressional inquiry, whether separate or joint congressional inquiry.

Their list includes environment Secretary Joselito Atienza, Laguna Lake Development Authority (LLDA) General Manager Edgar Manda, the governors of Rizal and Laguna provinces, mayors and local government officials of affected 30 towns and cities surrounding the lake, the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH), the National Economic Development Authority (NEDA), the officials of Board of Investment (BOI), the National Disaster Coordinating Council (NDCC) and the Office of Executive Secretary Eduardo Ermita to represent President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo. #

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Manila Bay fishers staged 70- boat fluvial protest against baywide reclamation, demolition

By Mama Mila Liguasan and Billy Javier Reyes

Pasay City- Fisherfolk affected by ongoing government projects in Manila Bay yesterday staged a 70-boat fluvial protest from Barangay Sineguelasan in Bacoor, Cavite to the coastal shore of the Philippine Senate to demand an immediate stop on all reclamation activities along the bay, including the construction of the controversial R-1 Expressway Extension Project and the demolition of some 26,000 coastal families.

The fluvial action was organized by the fisherfolk alliance Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (Pamalakaya), its regional chapter Pamalakaya-Southern Tagalog and staunch allies Samahang Magdaragat ng Bacoor, Cavite (SMBC), Anakpawis party list and the Alyansa ng mga Magdaragat ng Bacoor Inc (AMB). Small fishermen from Paranaque and Las Pinas also joined the water-based mass action.

The 70-boat fluvial protest participated by more than 300 fishermen across Bacoor Bay and parts of Manila Bay in Las Pinas and Paranaque disembarked at the coastal shore of the Philippine Senate by lunch time. At the Senate, they were met by Senator Jamby Madrigal, chair of the Senate Committee on Environment, who invited their leaders as resource persons to the 1 pm senate hearing called by the opposition senator to investigate the impact of government projects and reclamation activities on Manila Bay environment.

“The twin catastrophe across Luzon left by storm Ondoy and typhoon Pepeng should serve as lesson to the current occupant in Malacanang and their cherished clients from the corporate world. The unstoppable greed for super profits of big business clients of Malacanang and the equally unbridled fetish of state officials for fat kick backs and huge commissions should be blamed for this full-blown humanitarian crisis and all time high environmental disaster,” said Pamalakaya national chair Fernando Hicap in a press statement.

Hicap added: “Enough is enough. The government master plan of destruction in Manila Bay should be smashed into pieces at all cost.”

The Pamalakaya official said the infrastructure projects undertaken by the government in partnership with foreign investors along Manila Bay had destroyed the capability of the bay to provide livelihood to millions of small fishermen and residents along the bay, adding that government destructive projects which started in the late 70s and early 80s caused the alarming reduction in the average fish catch of small fisherfolk from 5 kilos to 10 kilos daily, to an average 1 kilo to 3 kilos a day.

Hicap said government reclamation projects which served as host grounds for industrial, commercial and infrastructure projects will continue to frustrate efforts aimed at rehabilitating Manila Bay. He said the demolition of fishing communities and urban poor is not the solution to the problem.

The fluvial protester said the condition of Manila Bay further deteriorated when previous governments allowed the reclamation of more than 20,000 hectares of coastal areas since the time of former President Ferdinand Marcos. Government and private establishments like Folk Arts Theater, Cultural Center of the Philippines, the Coconut Palace, the GSIS and the Senate building and now the SM Mall of Asia were constructed along these reclaimed portions of Manila Bay.

Pamalakaya-Timog Katagalugan chair Pedro Gonzalez said the R-1 Expressway Extension project had already reclaimed 60 percent of the target 7,000 hectares of coastal areas along Bacoor Bay that includes the municipalities of Bacoor, Kawit, Binakayan, Noveleta and Cavite City. He said the government also intends to reclaim another 5,000 hectares of submerged public lands in Cavite City to expand the Sangley Point Naval Base which the government will develop into a major international seaport in Southern Tagalog region.

Gonzales maintained that aside from destroying the marine environment and killing the livelihood of coastal people, these reclamation and other government sanctioned projects will displace 26,000 fisherfolk families and urban poor residents along Bacoor Bay. Last year, the government demolished 1,000 families in several coastal villages of Bacoor.

Pamalakaya recalled that on June 21, 2007, President Arroyo signed Executive Order No. 629 directing the PRA to develop Sangley Point in Cavite City into a logistical hub with modern seaport and an airport, citing the R-1 expressway extension project as enabling component. The group said the R-1 extension project resulted to diminished fish catch and destruction of remaining corals and mangroves in Bacoor Bay. The same Cavite road project is also being blamed for the flooding in Bacoor and nearby coastal towns in the province.

Pamalakaya and allied groups said Palace top officials and other government officials like environment secretary Joselito Atienza, Metro Manila Development Authority chair Bayani Fernando, Laguna Lake Development Authority general Manager Edgar Manda and Cavite governor Ayong Maliksi are exploiting the Supreme Court ruling on Manila Bay clean up to effectively remove small fishermen and urban poor from their main source of livelihood and coastal villages to enable the national government to pursue flagship projects funded by big business groups #

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Fishers ready to face off with execs on Laguna Lake flooding

SENATE HEARING ON OCTOBER 9
Fishers ready to face off with execs on Laguna Lake flooding

By Billy Javier Reyes, Gerry Albert Corpuz and Rey Manangan

Binangonan, Rizal- Leaders of the left-leaning fisherfolk alliance Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (Pamalakaya) will come in full force on October 9, the date the Senate Committee on Environment chaired by Senator Jamby Madrigal will conduct an investigation on the alarming water level in Laguna Lake and the mass flooding surrounding Asia’s 3rd largest lake.

In a press statement, Pamalakaya national chair Fernando Hicap will lead the 15-man fisherfolk team who will act as resource persons for Laguna Lake and Manila Bay who will talk on the connection of reclamation projects in Laguna Lake and Manila Bay and their direct link to the mass flooding in Metro Manila and nearby provinces and the critical water level in Laguna Lake.

Aside from Hicap, other Pamalakaya leaders who will act as resource persons are Pamalakaya vice chairperson Pedro Gonzalez who will represent the Laguna side of Laguna Lake, Romy Antazo of Pamalakaya-Rizal and Save Laguna Lake Movement, Salvador France, Pamalakaya vice chair for Luzon and scores of local fisherfolk leaders from Rizal, Laguna and Cavite.

The Pamalakaya leader said his team is expected to raise the issue pertaning to the closure of Napindan Hydraulic Control Structures (NCHS) in Laguna Lake, which he blamed for the recent rise in the water level of the lake and the mass flooding of Metro Manila and lake town parts of Rizal and Laguna provinces.

The NHCS was built in 1983 to prevent or lessen the increase of salinity from Manila Bay and pollution from the Pasig River from entering Laguna de Bay during times of reverse flow. The NHCS is found on the confluence of Marikina and Pateros-Taguig rivers with Pasig River. This confluence is also the downstream endpoint of the Napindan Channel, which is the upper part of Pasig River that connects to Laguna de Bay.

Aside from preventing the reverse flow of Pasig River, the NHCS is also used for flood control. During the rainy season, most of the flooding along the Pasig River area is due to the increased water flow coming from Marikina River. The Manggahan Floodway in Pasig City was constructed to divert much of this water from Marikina River directly into Laguna de Bay. By also closing the NHCS during times of rain, the water is effectively dammed in Laguna de Bay preventing it from flooding the downstream portions of Pasig River.

Hicap said LLDA General Manager Edgar Manda and Environment Secretary Joselito Atienza are complicating the situation by endorsing the forced eviction of 100,000 lakeshore residents mostly small fishermen and poor people who have been living in Laguna Lake surroundings for generations.

“The forced relocation of 100,000 people is not the solution. The best thing to do is to open the NCHS, which has been closed by LLDA for years now. This is the best and most logical explanation why the water level in Laguna Lake is now at an alarming level. The situation merits the opening of NCHS and let the excess waters pass through Pasig River on its way to Manila Bay,” he said.

The Pamalakaya official said LLDA chair Manda and Atienza should exercise common sense in dealing with the flood problem in connection with the rising water level of Laguna Lake, instead of displaying extreme act of paranoia and going hysterical all over the public.

“What it takes is simple science and basic logic. Right now, the water level in Laguna Lake is higher than Manila Bay, and its only logical therefore, to allow it to be disposed on its way to Manila Bay by opening the NCHS,” Hicap explained.

In a press briefing yesterday at the headquarters of the National Disaster Coordinating Council (NDCC), LLDA chair Manda said typhoon “Pepeng” will dump half of the rains that tropical storm Ondoy brought to the National Capital Region on Sept.26, the water level of Laguna Lake may break its all-time record of 14.62 meters, possibly sinking more coastal barangays in Metro Manila and Rizal province.

The LLDA chief made the projection to justify the removal of some 100,000 residents, specially those residing on the shorelines of Taguig, Cainta, Pasig, Taytay and Muntinlupa, in response to the preemptive evacuation called by President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo

According to Manda, the waters of Laguna Lake cannot easily pass through the Napindan Channel in Taguig into the Pasig River and then to Manila Bay because of some 25,000 informal settlers blocking the passageway. He specifically identified a community of about 25,000 families in Sitio Lupang Arenda—straddling Taguig, Taytay and Cainta.

However, Pamalakaya said the people of Laguna Lake should not be deceived by the latest escapade of LLDA general manager that his recommendation is meant to spare people’s lives from the wrath of typhoon Pepeng.

“Since he assumed the LLDA general managership, what Mr. Manda really has in mind is the forcible removal of 100,000 families along the lake so Malacanang could proceed with the reclamation of 5,000 hectares in Taguig, Pateros and Muntinlupa, where an international airport glamorized with high rise condominiums and first-class hotels will be constructed,’ the fisherfolk group said.

Pamalakaya also blamed the widespread reclamation in Laguna Lake as culprits to the sudden increase in the water level of the lake for the 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 also said aside from road and dike construction, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) and the LLDA will proceed with the additional reclamation of lake waters in Taguig (3,000 hectares), Muntinlupa (5,000 hectares) and Los Baños in Laguna (500 hectares), which the group said will further worsen the flood problem in the National Capital Region and nearby towns of Laguna and Rizal provinces because these reclamation projects will serve as obstruction to the natural flow of waters in the lake.

Pamalakaya theorized that LLDA chair Manda is using the calamity situation as trick to really evict lakeshore folks since that has been Malacanang and the authority’s grand design which is to remove lake people to prepare Laguna Lake for the grand takeover of big businesses, who are planning to set up big infrastructure projects like high rise condominiums and posh hotels along the lake’s coastlines.

Pamalakaya said Laguna Lake fisherfolk and residents living along the shorelines are survivors. Despite the abnormal rise in water level of Laguna Lake caused by typhoon Ondoy, small fishermen in 9 towns of Rizal and 18 towns of Laguna continue their day-to-day fish catch activities, leaving their families inside flooded houses and designated evacuation centers.

The group said there are 18,000 small fisherfolk families in Laguna Lake and they are found in 9 coastal towns of Rizal and 18 towns of Laguna Lake, excluding towns and cities in the National Capital Region like Pasig, Pateros, Muntinlupa and Taguig. The group said over 500,000 lake folk population are affected by typhoon Ondoy. #

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Lakefolk to execs: “We are not dreaming of a wet Christmas”

Lakefolk to execs: “We are not dreaming of a wet Christmas

by The Pamalakaya Times Southern Tagalog bureau

Binangonan, Rizal- Lakefolk activists belonging to the militant fisherolk federation Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (Pamalakaya)on Monday told Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) secretary Joselito Atienza and Laguna Lake Development Authority (LLDA) General Manager Edgar Manda six million residents of Laguna Lake are not dreaming of a wet Christmas, saying government agencies should start disposing excess waters in the lake by opening the Napindan Hydraulic Control Structure (NCHS).

According to projections, Laguna Lake could stay flooded for three months or until December this year.

“The solution to Laguna Lake’s rising water level is simple science and basic logic, and that is to open NCHS and allow excess waters to flow to Pasig River on its way to Manila Bay. Is that hard? Is that complicated? Why they are complicating the situation. Let me set the record straight– the people of Laguna Lake are not dreaming of a wet Christmas,” said Pamalakaya national chair Fernando Hicap in a press statement.

The NHCS was built in 1983 to prevent or lessen the increase of salinity from Manila Bay and pollution from the Pasig River from entering Laguna de Bay during times of reverse flow. The NHCS is found on the confluence of Marikina and Pateros-Taguig rivers with Pasig River. This confluence is also the downstream endpoint of the Napindan Channel, which is the upper part of Pasig River that connects to Laguna de Bay.

Aside from preventing the reverse flow of Pasig River, the NHCS is also used for flood control. During the rainy season, most of the flooding along the Pasig River area is due to the increased water flow coming from Marikina River. The Manggahan Floodway in Pasig City was constructed to divert much of this water from Marikina River directly into Laguna de Bay. By also closing the NHCS during times of rain, the water is effectively dammed in Laguna de Bay preventing it from flooding the downstream portions of Pasig River.

“The forced relocation of 100,000 people is not the solution. The best thing to do is to open the NCHS, which has been closed by LLDA for years now. This is the best and most logical explanation why the water level in Laguna Lake is now at an alarming level. The situation merits the opening of NCHS and let the excess waters pass through Pasig River on its way to Manila Bay,” Hicap said.

The Pamalakaya official said Atienza and Manda should exercise common sense in dealing with the flood problem in connection with the rising water level of Laguna Lake, instead of displaying extreme act of paranoia and going hysterical all over the public.

“Right now, the water level in Laguna Lake is higher than Manila Bay, and its only logical therefore, to allow it to be disposed on its way to Manila Bay by opening the NCHS,” Hicap explained.

In a press briefing laast week at the headquarters of the National Disaster Coordinating Council (NDCC), LLDA chair Manda said typhoon “Pepeng” will dump half of the rains that tropical storm Ondoy brought to the National Capital Region on Sept.26, the water level of Laguna Lake may break its all-time record of 14.62 meters, possibly sinking more coastal barangays in Metro Manila and Rizal province.

The LLDA chief made the projection to justify the removal of some 100,000 residents, specially those residing on the shorelines of Taguig, Cainta, Pasig, Taytay and Muntinlupa, in response to the preemptive evacuation called by President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.

According to Manda, the waters of Laguna Lake cannot easily pass through the Napindan Channel in Taguig into the Pasig River and then to Manila Bay because of some 25,000 informal settlers blocking the passageway. He specifically identified a community of about 25,000 families in Sitio Lupang Arenda—straddling Taguig, Taytay and Cainta.

However, Pamalakaya said the people of Laguna Lake should not be deceived by the latest escapade of LLDA general manager that his recommendation is meant to spare people’s lives from the wrath of typhoon Pepeng.

“Since he assumed the LLDA general managership, what Mr. Manda really has in mind is the forcible removal of 100,000 families along the lake so Malacanang could proceed with the reclamation of 5,000 hectares in Taguig, Pateros and Muntinlupa, where an international airport glamorized with high rise condominiums and first-class hotels will be constructed,’ the fisherfolk group said.

Pamalakaya also blamed the widespread reclamation in Laguna Lake as culprits to the sudden increase in the water level of the lake for the 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 also said aside from road and dike construction, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) and the LLDA will proceed with the additional reclamation of lake waters in Taguig (3,000 hectares), Muntinlupa (5,000 hectares) and Los Baños in Laguna (500 hectares), which the group said will further worsen the flood problem in the National Capital Region and nearby towns of Laguna and Rizal provinces because these reclamation projects will serve as obstruction to the natural flow of waters in the lake.

Pamalakaya theorized that LLDA chair Manda is using the calamity situation as trick to really evict lakeshore folks since that has been Malacanang and the authority’s grand design which is to remove lake people to prepare Laguna Lake for the grand takeover of big businesses, who are planning to set up big infrastructure projects like high rise condominiums and posh hotels along the lake’s coastlines.

Pamalakaya said Laguna Lake fisherfolk and residents living along the shorelines are survivors. Despite the abnormal rise in water level of Laguna Lake caused by typhoon Ondoy, small fishermen in 9 towns of Rizal and 18 towns of Laguna continue their day-to-day fish catch activities, leaving their families inside flooded houses and designated evacuation centers. #

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