Tag Archives: Edgar Manda

Laguna Lakers slam P 200 million building project

By Pepsi Laloma, Sarsi Pimentel and Gerry Albert Corpuz

Binangonan, Philippines-The militant fisherfolk alliance Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (Pamalakaya) on Wednesday expressed disbelief on why and how the Laguna Lake Development Authority (LLDA)pursued a P 200-million contract for a new three story building for the lake agency.

“P 200 million is P 200 million. This contract is a fast break deal and a last minute money making activity courtesy of the midnight deal department of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and LLDA General Manager Edgar Manda, an Arroyo stooge,” said Pamalakaya national chair Fernando Hicap.

Hicap learned that the LLDA’s Bids and Awards Committee (BAC) opened the bids last week to determine which of the contractors would get the project. The Pamalakaya leader said the winning bidder will receive the contract on June 28, two days before the inaugural of President elect Benigno Simeon “Noynoy” Aquino.

“Please allow us to establish the facts. The people of Laguna Lake- the 6 million stakeholders composed of small fishermen, farmers, urban poor and ordinary people were not consulted about this P 200 million escapade of the LLDA under the Arroyo-Manda regime. The construction of P 200 million building for LLDA is never a priority and all the people want is the genuine rehabilitation of the lake and assurance of fishing livelihood for small scale fishers,” added Hicap.

Pamalakaya said the people of Laguna Lake, especially the victims of super typhoon Ondoy were demanding state subsidies and assistance in the form of economic relief and rehabilitation and the immediate repair of their homes.

“They did not ask for the construction of a P 200 million building for LLDA. So where in this part of the globe did President Arroyo and Mr. Manda get their idea that all the victims of Ondoy want is a new building for LLDA. That’s baloney,” the militant group said.

Pamalakaya dared President-elect Aquino to recall the P 200-million project of the LLDA. “Mr. Aquino will face an across-the-lake project if his administration will continue to pursue to super damnable and crazy project,” the group said.

Pamalakaya said President elect Aquino should also instruct the incoming manager of the LLDA and the incoming secretary of Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) to stop the project and declare the contract null and void since because the P 200-million contract is illegal, highly irregular and anomalous and against the collective interest of 6 million lake folk surrounding the lake.

The militant group said they will soon write the House of Representatives and the Philippine Senate to conduct either a joint or separate congressional inquiries on the P 200-million Laguna Lake building project.

“The draft of the letter of request to have this high crime of corruption investigated is ready. We will just wait Congress to name the next of Speaker of the House of Representatives and Senate President because the letter will be addressed to the top two leaders of the legislative branch,” said Pamalakaya.

Last Feb. 23, leaders of Pamalakaya and Save Laguna Lake Movement (SLLM) submitted an Omnibus demand to LLDA Gen. Manager Manda. The set of demands include support and housing subsidies to victims of last year’s typhoon Ondoy and this year’s El Nino.

Pamalakaya and SLLM set of demands include supply of 1 rice of sack for free from March to July, P 5,000 economic and production subsidies for every fishing families and another P 5,000 for housing subsidy or house rehabilitation program per affected fishing family. #

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Fishers blame LLDA chief for turning Laguna Lake into a sea of disaster

Fishers blame LLDA chief for turning Laguna Lake into a sea of disaster

by Ronel Arambulo, Viva Regala-Alonzo and Billy Javier reyes

The left-leaning fisherfolk alliance Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (Pamalakaya) on Sunday said Laguna Lake Development Authority (LLDA) General Manager Edgar Manda should be held responsible for the devastated state of the lake and the mass flooding of fishing villages around Laguna de Bay becasue of his refusal to open the Napindan Hydraulic Control System that will flush excess waters in the lake.

“The Napindan flood structure should be open if not all the time, at least most of the time, but LLDA refused to open the control system for several years now, and he just let waters from Sierra Madre and Marikina River to remain in the lake, making Laguna Lake the biggest dam in the country, although it is not dam by nature and by design, because first and foremost the lake is a fishing area connected to Manila Bay,” said Pamalakaya vice-chair for Luzon Salvador France.

France said Manda and the rest of LLDA officials should be investigated and charged before the appropriate court for the environmental and economic catastrophe his policy of closing NHCS had brought to the Filpino people and the lakeshore people.

“It is about time for Manda and his company of hooligans to face the court of public opinion and and any appropriate court for transforming Laguna Lake from a productive fishing ground and commmunity of lake people into a sea of disaster,” the Pamalakaya leader added.

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 rainy period, the water is effectively dammed in Laguna de Bay preventing it from flooding the downstream portions of Pasig River.

“The water in Laguna Lake is highly critical. It is now 10 deep feet higher and deeper to the water level in Manila Bay. The best way to resolve this problem along with the current mass flooding of communities surrounding the lake is to open the flood structure and let it flow to Pasig River on its way to Manila Bay,” the Pamalakaya leader suggested.

“But Mr Manda is 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. This proposal is very stupid and is anchored on the sinister agenda and cruel intention of the national government, which is to evict lakeshore residents to facilitate the massive reclamation activities along the lake,” France added.

The Pamalakaya official said LLDA chair 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,” France 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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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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