Fishers washed clothes, took bath in
DENR to protest looming LLDA-Maynilad water deal
Some 20 small from Binangonan washed clothes and bathed outside the national office of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) to protest the looming business deal between the Laguna Lake Development Authority (LLDA) and the Maynilad Water Services Inc. for the latter to tap the lake as a water source for cities of Muntinlupa, Parañaque, Las Piñas and Bacoor in Cavite.
The activists all belonging to the militant fisherfolk alliance Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (Pamalakaya) and the multisectoral environmental group Save Laguna Lake Movement (SLLM) warned environment secretary Joselito Atienza on the implications of his office granting of the required environmental clearance certificate (ECC) to the LLDA-Maynilad upcoming deal in Laguna Lake.
“Laguna Lake belongs to the Filipino people. By orientation, by design, and by historical and social purpose the lake is mainly a communal fishing ground. Any kind of privatization and conversion will not help save Laguna Lake which is currently at the deathbed of environmental destruction,” said Pamalakaya national chair Fernando Hicap said in a press statement.
Hicap, also the national convener of SLLM, said Secretary Atienza should come in and tell LLDA to stop the sell-out of Laguna Lake to Maynilad or to any other parties which are interested in transforming the lake into a haven for capital accumulation and super profiteering activities.
“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 Pamalakaya leader added.
Likewise Pamalakaya and SLMM reiterated their call for LLDA General Manager Edgar 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.
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. #