Tag Archives: Save Laguna Lake Movement

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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Affected El Nino fishers dump water lilies at DA in protest of government neglect

by Lollipop delos Reyes and Trinity Biglang Awa

Manila, Philippines-Fisherfolk affected by the El Nino phenomenon in Laguna Lake on Tuesday dumped water lilies at the gate of the Department of Agriculture (DA) in Quezon City to protest what they called state neglect of small fisherfolk, one of the sectors devastated by the ongoing dry spell all over the country.

Some 20 fisherfolk activists belonging to Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (Pamalakaya), Anakpawis party list and Save Laguna Lake Movement (SLLM) staged a roving picket carrying water lilies harvested from lakeshores of Laguna to denounce the agriculture department’s insensitivity to the plight of lake fishers across the 90,000 hectare Laguna Lake.

“We assert our political right to state subsidies so we can fish and survive the harsh impact of El Nino. But our legitimate right for social justice is eternally neglected and abandoned by President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and Secretary Arthur Yap ,” said Pamalakaya national chair Fernando Hicap in a press statement.

The Pamalakaya leader said the national government, the Laguna Lake Development Authority (LLDA) and the local government units surrounding Laguna Lake have no contingency plans for lake people affected by El Nino. Hicap said not a single centavo has been spent for El Nino affected lake folk since January this year.

“What happened to the P 1.7 billion El Nino funds? Why the government and its local units at the grassroots level have yet to release the calamity funds allocated to mitigate the impact of extreme heat and dry spell? We are not begging for alms, we are asserting our political and economic right for subsidies,” added Hicap.

Pamalakaya had submitted 8-point demand for small fisherfolk and urban poor families to LLDA General Manager Edgar Manda last week for prompt and appropriate action—1. Stop demolition of 400,000 lake folk families around Laguna Lake, 2. Permanently open Napindan Hydraulic Control Structure (NCHS), 3. Stop reclamation and other forms of privatization and conversion in Laguna Lake, 4. P 5,000 housing rehabilitation fund for fishermen whose houses were destroyed during typhoon Ondoy, 5. Economic grant composed of 1 sack of rice per month for every poor fishing family, 6. P 1,500 worth of groceries per month for each poor fisherfolk family, 7. Promulgation of provincial and municipal orders allowing farmers and fisherfolk in the lake to plant around the lake or conduct other means of backyard livelihood as possible source of income and 8. mobilization of doctors and health workers in fishing villages to address El Nino generated diseases.

Pamalakaya lamented that Agriculture Secretary Arthur Yap is pre-occupied with corruption tainted projects in DA like the controversial P 455-million overpriced ice making machine projects, instead of attending to the demands of el Nino affected sectors.

Last week, Anakpawis party list and Pamalakaya dared President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and Secretary Yap to account a total of P 7.14 billion in taxpayers’ money, which the Commission on Audit (COA) found missing or diverted to other purposes in 2008.

Anakpawis secretary general Cherry Clemente said President Arroyo and Sec. Yap did not disclose the public the report and findings of COA about the disbursement of more than 7 billion pesos, which the state-run auditing body said was lost to “wasteful operation, bungled project implementation or missing and diverted funds.

“The funds which should be used to cushion the life threatening impact of El Nino to fisherfolk and rural producers are missing and nowhere to be found. But Yap is taking this highly explosive issue with a grain of salt,” added Clemente. #

We can't eat water lilies

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Lawmakers urged to let go salaries, pork barrel for El Nino victims

By Akihira Tatchu and Bb. Joyce Cabral in Manila
and Lollipop delos Reyes, in Antipolo City, Rizal

Leftwing militants belonging to Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (Pamalakaya) on Wednesday urged senators and congressmen to donate their salaries and remaining pork barrel from March to June 30, 2010 to victims of El Nino.

In a press statement, Pamalakaya vice-chairperson Salvador France appealed to senators and district representatives to contribute their available funds to subsidize sectors hardly hit by the long dry spell, specifically farmers and fishermen all over the country. The fisherfolk leader lamented that Malacanang, the National Disaster Coordinating Council (NDCC), the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) have yet to identify workable solutions that will provide urgent relief to affected and other vulnerable sectors.

France said the affected sectors could generate P 40,425 each from each district congressman. If there are 220 district congressmen, the fund which could be raised would be P 8,893,500 per month or
P 35.57 million for four months. The Pamalakaya leader said there are 23 senators at present, and each senator also receives P 40,425 per month or P 929,775 for all senators. If they senators decide to donate their salaries to El Nino victims, the amount that can be generated from senators’ salaries for next four months would be P 3,719,100.

Pamalakaya said if the 243 congressmen and senators will donate at least P 20 million of their remaining pork barrel for the year that would amount to P 4.86 billion, excluding their salaries. The militant group said what the executive branch of government did so far was to monitor the impact of El Nino and hyped multi-billion mitigation projects which are subjected to audit free schemes, and are prone to high crimes of corruption.

Pamalakaya said the combined salaries and donated pork barrel could raise as much as P 5-billion which could be of big help to affected farmers and fishermen.

“There are billions of pesos of unprogrammed funds out there in the secret vault of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo. There are billions of pesos of unaccounted presidential pork barrel funds that were kept and are still in the disposal of the ruling syndicate in Malacanang. Where are these funds? Why not mobilize these funds to provide subsidies and other forms of aid to El Nino affected folks?” the group said.

Earlier, leaders of Pamalakaya, Anakpawis party list and Save Laguna Lake Movement (SLLM) submitted a 5-point Omnibus demand to Laguna Lake Development Authority (LLDA) that would cushion the impact of El Nino to small fisherfolk and urban poor communities situated along the lake.

The 5-point Omnibus Demand presented to LLDA General Manager Edgar Manda includes supply of 1 sack of rice per family for free beginning March to July this year.

The proposal submitted to LLDA likewise calls on the lake agency to compel local government units to immediately release the calamity funds intended for their respective constituents and allows fisherfolk and farmers plant crops for their subsistence or alternative livelihood.

The groups also tasked the Department of Health (DoH) to mobilize doctors and health workers to look into the situation of poor folk and be ready to provide the lake people with free checkups and medicines. They also pressed the government to set aside at least P 1,500 worth of groceries package for every family of poor fisherfolk and lake resident in the 90,000 hectare Laguna Lake representing the 9 lake towns of Rizal and 18 lake towns of Laguna, including the cities of Pasig, Taguig and Muntinlupa and the municipality of Pateros- all in National Capital Region.

“Instead of proceeding with demolitions of fishing villages, privatization and conversion of public lands along the lake, we urge the government to provide P 5,000 rehabilitation grant to every fishing family so they could repair their houses wrecked by typhoon Ondoy last year,” said Pamalakaya.

Pamalakaya said the LLDA should permanently open if not dismantle the controversial Napindan Hydraulic Control Structure (NCHS) to allow salt water from Manila Bay to penetrate Laguna Lake. Gonzalez said the regular entry of salt water in Laguna Lake will allow the lake to restore its former ecological balance and healthy inland environment. #

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El Nino drives lake fishers to demand econ subsidy from gov’t

By Rey Manangan, Billy Javier Reyes and Pepsi La Loma

Taytay, Rizal- The impact of El Nino phenomenon on the already dwindling inland resources of Laguna Lake compelled lake fishers to demand the government a monthly supply of 1 sack of rice for every fishing family for free.

The proposal came from Laguna Lake fishermen identified with the militant fisherfolk alliance Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (Pamalakaya), Anakpawis party list the Katipunan ng mga Samahang Magbubukid sa Timog Katagalugan (Kasama-TK) and the broad Save Laguna Lake Movement (SLLM).

Pamalakaya national chair Fernando Hicap said the demand for free supply of rice to cushion the impact of long dry spell is just one of the five set of economic demands pressed by small fishermen from Malacanang, concerned government agencies and local governments in Laguna Lake. He said the issue of lingering hunger and poverty in Laguna Lake that was further compounded by last year’s super typhoon Ondoy and now the El Nino phenomenon.

Hicap said the proposal was agreed by leaders of Pamalakaya, Anakpawis party list and SLLM during an all Laguna Lake leaders caucus held in Pamalakaya headquarters in Quezon City last week and was affirmed in the municipal assembly of Anakpawis –Cardona chapter in Talim Island yesterday.

“Our proposal for supply of 1 rice of sack for free will cover the month of March, April, May, June and July- where the long dry spell is expected to end. Aside from free supply of rice within the period, we also demand local government units to immediately release the calamity funds intended for their respective constituents and let fisherfolk and farmers plant crops for their subsistence or alternative livelihood,” added Hicap.

The Pamalakaya leader also said that since the long dry spell is expected to generate heat related diseases among fisherfolk and poor lake dwellers, his group is also urging the Department of Health (DoH) to mobilize doctors and health workers to look into the situation of poor folk and be ready to provide the lake people with free check ups and medicines.

Hicap also pressed the government to set aside at least P 1,500 worth of groceries package for every family of poor fisherfolk and lake resident in the 90,000 hectare Laguna Lake representing the 9 lake towns of Rizal and 18 lake towns of Laguna, including the cities of Pasig, Taguig and Muntinlupa and the municipality of Pateros- all in National Capital Region.

For his part, Pamalakaya-Southern Tagalog chair and SLLM convener Pedro Gonzalez, the set of economic subsidy package is just an item to the set of Omnibus Demand crafted by fisherfolk , the party list group Anakpawis and other cause-oriented organizations in Laguna Lake.

Gonzalez said Malacanang, the Laguna Lake Development Authority(LLDA), the provincial and municipal governments of Rizal and Laguna and city mayors in Metro Manila should stop if not indefinitely suspend the demolition of communities in the lake and put an end to the ongoing massive reclamation and other joint state-private projects.

“Instead of proceeding with demolitions of fishing villages, privatization and conversion of public lands along the lake, we urge the government to provide P 5,000 rehabilitation grant to every fishing family so they could repair their houses wrecked by typhoon Ondoy last year,” said Gonzalez.

The 66-year old fisherfolk leader said LLDA should permanently open if not dismantle the controversial Napindan Hydraulic Control Structure (NCHS) to allow salt water from Manila Bay to penetrate Laguna Lake. Gonzalez said the regular entry of salt water in Laguna Lake will allow the lake to restore its former ecological balance and healthy inland environment.

This set of demands, according to Anakpawis party list secretary general Cherry Clemente will be submitted to the following agencies—the LLDA, the provincial and local governments in Rizal and Laguna, to the mayor of Pasig City, Taguig City, Muntinlupa City and municipality of Pateros.

Clemente said a petition for the same set of demands will also be submitted to the Department of Agriculture (DA), the Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA), the Department of Budget and Management (DBM), the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH), the health department and to the Office of the President, House Speaker Prospero Nograles and Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile for appropriate actions.

Tomorrow, a 10-vehicle caravan from different towns of Rizal and Laguna and NCR will join a march rally led by some 2,000 urban poor residents of Lupang Arenda in Taytay, Rizal to press LLDA to stop the demolition of their communities and endorse the El Nino driven demands set by Pamalakaya, SLLM and Anakpawis for people of Laguna Lake.

The government plans to evict 62,000 fishing and urban poor families in Lupang Arenda on the ground that they all live in danger zone areas, but critics said the government is using the issue of massive flooding caused by typhoon Ondoy last year to justify the demolition and make easy for the government to install big ticket projects in Laguna Lake. #

incumbent mayors are called to release calamity funds for El Nino victims

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Sea of garbage failed to stop fishers from endorsing favored bets in Manila Bay

By Lollipop delos Reyes and Sugar Hicap

Manila, Philippines- Figuratively and literally speaking, this group of militant fishermen can proudly say “ nakaligo na sila sa dagat ng basura.”

Leaders of the activist fisherfolk alliance Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (Pamalakaya) on Valentines Day braved the murky and garbage filled waters of Manila Bay along Baywalk area in Roxas Boulevard in Manila to endorse the party list bid of Anakpawis and the senatorial outing of Bayan Muna Rep. Satur Ocampo and Gabriela Party list Rep. Liza Maza.

“This symbolizes our full blast determination to have the real representatives of the people elected in the Senate and the House of Representatives. It is a paramount electoral concern and political duty of every Filipino voter to ensure the victory of progressive party lists like Anakpawis and patriotic lawmakers like Ocampo and Maza so the people will have a fighting chance inside the elite dominated Congress,” said Pamalakaya national chair Fernando Hicap in a press statement.

Hicap added: “The undisputed and long running track record of Anakpawis and the two militant congressmen side by side with current situation merit their victory in the May 2010 elections.”

Hicap was joined by Pamalakaya vice-chairperson Salvador France and another staff in goading a balsa (bamboo raft) in Manila Bay filled with tarpaulins of Anakpawis, Ocampo and Maza calling the Filipino voters to elect them in the May 2010 polls.

“Today is Valentines Day. And this water based action is one way of showing our class love for Anakpawis and for the working class and hardworking folks like Satur and Liza. Our senatorial candidates are two of the most respected and well-loved people in the politics of change and meaningful reforms,” the Pamalakaya official added.

Earlier, some 5,000 victims of typhoon Ondoy in Laguna Lake and now organized under Pamalakaya, Save Laguna Lake Movement (SLLM) and Katipunan ng mga Samahang Magbubukid sa Timog Katagalugan (Kasama-TK) proclaimed the senatorial bids of Ocampo and Maza.

Pamalakaya said victims of “state-sponsored disaster” in Lupang Arenda in Taytay, Rizal and in the 90,000 hectare stretched Laguna Lake are 100 percent voting for progressive party lists, Ocampo and Maza.

The militant group said typhoon victims and fishing villagers in Laguna Lake have recognized efforts of progressive party lists like Bayan Muna, Anakpawis and Gabriela in opposing the planned demolition of communities in Lupang Arenda and other fishing and urban poor villages surrounding Laguna Lake.

Pamalakaya noted that Anakpawis and Makabayan senatorial candidates’ Ocampo and Maza had filed several resolutions against the proliferation of fish pens, the across-the-lake reclamation and road dike projects and the sell-out of lake resources to powerful business groups and private firms who want to convert the lake into an industrial and commercial hub at the expense of the lake fishers and the environment.

Pamalakaya said the relief efforts of progressive party lists which addressed the immediate needs of typhoon victims last year were also recognized by Laguna lake folks. According to Pamalakaya’s estimate, progressive party lists and the offices of Ocampo and Maza in the House of Representatives have delivered not less than 10,000 sacks of rice and other relief goods for same number of families in Laguna Lake last year.

This year, some 6,000 packs of relief goods were distributed in Lupang Arenda, while around 500 sacks of rice and relief items were handed to over 1,000 fishing families in Binangonan and Talim Island, both in Rizal late last month. #

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5K Ondoy victims endorse Satur, Maza for senators

By Gerry Albert Corpuz and Billy Javier Reyes

Taytay, Rizal- Not less than 5,000 victims of typhoon Ondoy are endorsing the senatorial bids of Bayan Muna party list Rep. Satur Ocampo and Gabriela Women’s Party Liza Maza, according to the organizers of “Avance de Arienda”, the mini proclamation rally staged by residents of Lupang Arienda in Taytay, Rizal.

The “miting de avance” of Lupang Arienda fisherfolk and urban poor organized by the activist fishermen alliance Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (Pamalakaya), its Southern Luzon chapter Pamalakaya-Timog Katagalugan, the Katipunan ng Samahang Magbubukid sa Timog Katagalugan (Kasama-TK) and Save Laguna Lake Movement (SLLM) also declared their support to party lists Anakpawis, Bayan Muna, Gabriela, Kabataan Party, Act Teachers and the children advocacy group Akap-Bata.

“Victims of government sponsored disaster in Lupang Arienda and in the 90,000 hectare stretched Laguna Lake are 100 percent green and determine to campaign for senatorial bids of Ocampo and Maza and the progressive party lists comprising the Makabayan coalition,” Pamalakaya national chair Fernando Hicap said in a press statement.

The Pamalakaya leader said aside from Lupang Arienda, fisherfolk, farmers and urban poor located in different lake towns in Rizal and Laguna provinces organized by Pamalakaya, Kasama-TK, Pamalakaya-TK and SLLM will also campaign for Reps. Ocampo and Maza, Anakpawis party and sister party list groups like Bayan Muna, Gabriela and Kabataan Party.

Hicap said Laguna fisherfolk endorsement of Ocampo and Maza’s senatorial bids stemmed from the two militant solons unbridled advocacy on the issues of fisherfolk and lake people in Laguna Lake. The fisherfolk official recalled Ocampo and Maza’s sponsorship of bills and resolutions as congressmen calling for legislative inquiries regarding the current state of Laguna Lake including but not limited to congressional inquiries demanding for an end to all anti-fisherfolk and anti-people government projects in the lake.

“Reps. Ocampo and Maza and the progressive party lists are the reasons why this electoral exercise, despite being dominated by traditional politics, elite rule and Jurassic politicians is meaningful for people advocating the politics of change for the people in and out of Congress. Without them, the people have nothing in Congress,” the Pamalakaya official said.

SLLM convener and Pamalakaya-TK secretary general Pedro Gonzalez recalled that Ocampo and Maza joined Anakpawis congressmen- the late party list solon Crispin Beltran and incumbents Rafael Mariano and Joel Maglunsod in pursuing investigations on the proliferation of fish pens, across-the-lake reclamation and road dike construction that led to the rapid deterioration of the lake and forcible demolition of fishing villages in Laguna Lake.

“As far as my recollection is concerned, Ocampo and Maza and the party list congressmen of Anakpawis, Bayan Muna, Gabriela and Kabataan pushed for a resolution demanding the national government to stop all anti-people projects in the lake and recognize the basic economic rights of fisherfolk and the lake people. The resolution was further augmented by several resolutions augmenting each resolution,” the 65-year old fisherfolk leader added.

Gonzalez was referring to a number of investigations in aid of legislation sought by Ocampo, Maza and the other militant partly list congressmen on Laguna Lake like the investigations on the proliferation of corporate fish pens, the plans of Maynilad and Manila Water to tap the lake as source of potable waters, the 5,000 reclamation plan in Taguig, the reclamation projects from Muntinlupa to Rizal lake towns and from Muntinlupa to Laguna lake towns reaching as far as Sta. Cruz.

Pamalakaya’s Hicap said at the height of typhoon Ondoy, Ocampo’s Bayan Muna, Maza’s Gabriela and the rest of the progressive party list bloc delivered not less than 10,000 sacks of rice and relief packs to same number of families along the lakeshores of Rizal and Laguna provinces.

The latest relief operations were conducted in Talim Island and Binangonan mainland were 400 sacks of rice and assorted goods were delivered and another 1,200 sacks of rice and relief packs were distributed to 6,000 families in Lupang Arienda. #

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Fishers say P 18.5 B Laguna Lake rehab plan a bailout to big business

By Billy Javier Reyes and Gerry Albert Corpuz

Manila, Philippines- Leaders of the fisherfolk alliance Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (Pamalakaya) and Save Laguna Lake Movement (SLLM) on Saturday said the P 18.5 billion budget set aside by the National Economic Development Authority (NEDA) for the rehabilitation of the calamity stricken Laguna Lake is a bailout for companies conducting business operations around the lake.

In a press statement, Pamalakaya national chair and SLLM convener Fernando Hicap said the rehabilitation plan appeared like a bailout for factories and industrial plants which will benefit from the construction of 5 lakeshore areas for wastewater treatment facilities and 4 sewage treatment plants.

“The cruel intention of Malacanang is to carry out the rehabilitation of big business affected by storm Ondoy. Now it appears to us that this rehabilitation project is nothing but a major bailout for all-time profiteers and exploiters and not for lakeshore people seeking a comprehensive pro-people rehabilitation plan in Laguna Lake,” added Hicap.

The P 18.5 billion Laguna Lake rehabilitation project aims to resolve flooding problems in the provinces of Rizal and Laguna province. Based on the initial plans of NEDA, the government will implement the dredging of the Laguna lake navigational lane and the entire 8-kilometer stretch of the Napindan channel.

The rehabilitation plan also includes the development of transport systems and service repair centers. Specifically, the program targets to build 12 ferry stations in several sites. The NEDA said the Laguna de Bay rehabilitation project is set to be implemented from 2010 to 2012.

The Pamalakaya leader also lambasted the plan of the government to borrow loans for the rehabilitation project, asserting that the project is meant to assist big corporations, but the Filipino taxpaying public will be the one to pay for the loans to be sourced from Belgian government under the Belgian’s Super Subsidy Program and other Belgian private banks.

“The loans from Belgian financial biggies which will be used for the water treatment facilities and transport needs of big businesses in Laguna Lake will be paid by the Filipino taxpaying public. Where is social justice here?” asked Hicap.

Earlier, leaders of various people’s organizations in Laguna Lake had agreed to file criminal and administrative charges against President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and Laguna Lake Development Authority (LLDA) chair Edgar Manda before the Office of the Ombudsman, whom they blamed as masterminds behind Laguna Lake’s swallowing of more than 30 towns in Rizal, Laguna and parts of the National Capital Region.

Since last week, leaders of Pamalakaya and SLMM had been conducting formal and informal consultations among fishermen, farmers and urban poor groups in Laguna Lake on the filing of class suit and other appropriate charges against President Arroyo and Mr. Manda. They asserted that the continuing closure of Napindan Hydraulic Control Structure (NCHS) was the immediate cause why majority of towns along Laguna Lake were and are still submerged to 14.5 meter deep since typhoon Ondoy stormed the country on Sept.26.

“The collective sentiment of the people in Laguna Lake is loud and clear– they hold the Office of the President and LLDA responsible for this across-the-lake calamity, and they want to bring them to court and to the court of public opinion,” Pamalakaya said.

The fisherfolk group had also consulted advocacy groups based in Metro Manila who are also organizing urban poor, women and worker groups along Laguna Lake about their plans to charge President Arroyo and Mr. Manda before the Office of the Ombudsman. Pamalakaya said the response was very positive and the filing of case against Arroyo and Manda may take place before the end of November.

“The Laguna Lake people in particular and the Filipino people in general have a case against Arroyo and Manda, and this will be billed in contemporary history as People of the Philippines versus President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and LLDA general manager Edgar Manda,” said Pamalakaya.

Pamalakaya said aside from Arroyo, other government officials will also be included in the charge sheet, but the Pamalakaya leader said they will reveal the names on the eve of the filing of charges against the President and the LLDA general manager.

Pamalakaya said aside from filing criminal and other appropriate charges, it will join forces with SLMM in the signature campaign calling for the immediate and unconditional dismantling of NCHS. The group said fisherfolk leaders and environmental activists have committed to initiate the campaign and gather signatures that will press the immediate removal of the controversial structure constructed in 1983.

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.lippines-

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