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Fisherfolk group renews call against Maynilad’s use of Laguna de Bay

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A FISHERMAN casts a line from his boat to another as they clear illegal fishpens and fishcages along the navigational route of the Laguna de Bay. — BW FILE PHOTO

A FISHERFOLK group has renewed calls for the Laguna Lake Development Authority (LLDA) to terminate its deal with Maynilad Water Services, Inc. (MWSI), which allowed the company to tap Laguna de Bay as the main source of its domestic and commercial water service.

“We urge the LLDA to terminate its deal with the Maynilad and bring back the lake’s traditional orientation as fishing ground and not for the use of corporate and vested interests,” Fernando Hicap, chairperson of the militant group Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (PAMALAKAYA), said in a statement issued yesterday, Dec. 6.

The group said the 90,000-hectare Laguna de Bay is the primary source of livelihood of more than 14 million fisherfolk and residents around the country’s largest lake.

PAMALAKAYA said MWSI’s corporate activities have gradually degraded the ecological balance and nature of Laguna de Bay, adversely affecting the livelihood of small fisherfolk.”

“Maynilad greedily consumes the water of Laguna de Bay for its super profit at the cost of productive fishing grounds of millions of small fisherfolk and people engaged in fish culture activities,” Mr. Hicap added.

Through its filtration facility located in Putatan, Muntinlupa City, the MWSI has been extracting 150 million liters per day of water from the lake, supplying to more than one million of its customers in the western part of National Capital Region, including the cities of Makati, Pasay, Parañaque, Las Piñas, and Muntinlupa, as well as the towns of Bacoor, Cavite City, Imus, Kawit, Rosario, and Noveleta in Cavite province.

The group said the lake water of Laguna de Bay is categorized as Class-C water, which means it is only suitable for fishing and recreational use and not for domestic purposes.

“No matter how sophisticated (the) filtration machine they use, they can never convert water of Laguna de Bay into safe drinking water because of its natural orientation as fishing grounds, and not for commercial purposes,” Mr. Hicap said.

MWSI was sought for comment but has not replied as of press time. — Janina C. Lim

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