LLDA to lose P80 M in fish pen demolition
Louise Maureen Simeon, Rhodina Villanueva (The Philippine Star) - March 18, 2017 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines - The Laguna Lake Development Authority (LLDA) expects to lose around P80 million in revenue with the dismantling of illegal fish pens in Laguna de Bay in the next three months.

Jaime Medina, LLDA general manager, said they would lose P50 million in fees and charges from fish pen operators and spend P30 million for the dismantling operations.      

The LLDA is targeting the demolition of illegal fish pens in 3,000 hectares of the lake.

“We are not bothered. Our priority is the condition of the lake…What is more important is to… prioritize small fisherfolk,” Medina told a press briefing yesterday.

Based on the action plan of the LLDA, fish pens with no permits, those blocking navigational lanes, covering excessive areas, delinquent in payment and put up outside the designated areas will be prioritized.

A task force led by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) started the demolition in January. The task force is composed of representatives of the LLDA, Philippine Coast Guard, National Bureau of Investigation, Philippine National Police and Philippine Army.

Under the Fisheries Code, only 10 percent or 9,000 hectares of Laguna de Bay should be allotted for aquaculture. Fish pen operators are occupying 13,000 hectares.

 There are around 2,200 unregistered fish pen operators in the lake compared to only 1,000 that are legitimate.

Medina said they have covered five to six hectares per day since Feb. 1.

Under LLDA board resolution 518, operators are given until March 31 to harvest their stocks before their pens will be demolished.

Medina clarified that fish pens covering a hectare or less will not be covered by the clearing operations.

He said they would also start validating the list of fisherfolk who will be given permits once the moratorium in the issuance of fish pen permits is lifted next year.

The DENR said it would help the LLDA in  rehabilitating the lake as well as address the dumping of household, industrial and chemical waste.

JAIME MEDINA
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