Lito Atienza's Blog

DENR SECRETARY LITO ATIENZA ORDERS LLDA TO BAN REPAIR OF RUINED FISHPENS IN LAGUNA LAKE | October 10, 2009

Aside from sharing the same birthday, August 10, Environment and Natural Resources Secretary Lito Atienza (left) and Archbishop Gaudencio Rosales are both ardent environmentalists. In a meeting at the Residencia del Arzobishpo in Manila, Atienza briefed the bishop on the continuing degradation of Laguna Lake’s waters. In turn, Archbishop Rosales, himself a licensed forester, expressed support to Atienza’s efforts to liberate the country’s largest lake of fishpens and other illegal aqua structures in a twin-move to fasttrack the rehabilitation of the lake and rationalize the benefits it provides with all stakeholders, especially the poor fisherfolk.

Aside from sharing the same birthday, August 10, Environment and Natural Resources Secretary Lito Atienza (left) and Archbishop Gaudencio Rosales are both ardent environmentalists. In a meeting at the Residencia del Arzobishpo in Manila, Atienza briefed the bishop on the continuing degradation of Laguna Lake’s waters. In turn, Archbishop Rosales, himself a licensed forester, expressed support to Atienza’s efforts to liberate the country’s largest lake of fishpens and other illegal aqua structures in a twin-move to fasttrack the rehabilitation of the lake and rationalize the benefits it provides with all stakeholders, especially the poor fisherfolk.

As DENR Secretary I have ordered the Laguna Lake Development Authority (LLDA) to impose a total ban on the repair or reconstruction of fishpens and other aqua structures ruined or submerged at the height of typhoon ‘Ondoy.’

This, even as I have expressed frustration over the LLDA’s inability to take control of the lake after my continued directives, thus receiving mere alibis for failure.

I have personally instructed LLDA General Manager Edgar Manda to make sure that destroyed, including submerged fishpens, will not be allowed to be repaired or reconstructed by their operators and owners.

In a memorandum, I have directed GM Manda to impose a total ban on the reconstruction or repair of fishpens either ruined or submerged by typhoon ‘Ondoy.’

Nature herself has done the gargantuan work for us in liberating the lake of fishpens and fishcages, adding that it is now imperative for the LLDA to learn from typhoon Ondoy’s lessons.

This is the best time, more than ever, to take advantage of what nature has initiated, reminding us of the consequences brought by abuse on the environment by some influential, powerful and wealthy individuals and groups. Failure to carry out the memorandum would constrain the Department to take administrative action.

In the memorandum, I have also directed the lake agency to refrain from issuing new permits or renewal of permits for the construction of fishpens and fishcages. In implementing the order, LLDA officials can call on any DENR office, the police and the military for assistance.

The unprecedented volume of rain that befell Metro Manila and neighboring provinces was caused by climate change. However, the massive flooding experienced was the result of man’s irresponsibility to allow garbage and illegal structures to block the country’s man-made and natural drainage systems.

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