By Gerry Albert Corpuz, www.allvoices.com
MANILA, Philippines- Barely a month after Malacanang officially announced the cancellation of the controversial P 18.7 B Laguna Lake Dredging Project, groups who led the opposition against the Belgian rehabilitation plan, learned that a new rehabilitation project for the 90,000 hectare lake had been endorsed by President Benigno Simeon Aquino III and the Department of Environment and Natural Resources(DENR) based on the proposal of a certain Dr. Benedicto Dorado>
Lake based groups Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (Pamalakaya) and the Save the Laguna Lake Movement (SLLM) said the Laguna Lake Flood Control and Lake Shore Project was proposed to and accepted by the Office of the President andenvironment agency recently.
‘This one is too fast. It appears to us that the project replacing the P 18.7 B Laguna Lake dredging project is just waiting for the big break. A month after Malacanang rejected the Belgian project, this lake flood control and lake shore came quickly like magic,” Pamalakaya national chair Fernando Hicap and SLLM convener Pedro Gonzalez said in a joint statement.
"The Belgian contractor is out, the doctor contractor is in. And this is Aquino's legacy to the people. Terrible isn't it?" the dismayed Pamalakaya leader said.
The multi-pronged project according to a research made by Pamalakaya and SLLM revealed the author and patent holder of the project is a Dr. Dorado. The project proponent said the new Laguna Lake rehabilitation plan seeks to solve flooding inMetro Manila, clean Laguna Lake and create the longest lakeshore park in the world.
Dr. Dorado said the project will also decongest Metro Manila from traffic and squatter problem, create hundreds of thousands of jobs, protect the watershed, stimulate investments and tourism and reclaim lands for business, industrial and residential purposes. The proponent said if the project is implemented, it would be President Benigno Simeon Aquino III’s legacy to the Filipino people and the world for having created the longest lakeshore park in this part of the globe.
“This is 99 percent copy cat of what the Belgian dredging firm intends to undertake in Laguna Lake. This project is 100 percent recipe for destruction of fisherfolk livelihood and people’s environment. It is 100 percent campaign for across-the-lake displacement of hundreds of thousands of people living along the lake.
Therefore, this much ballyhooed replacement of the previous rehab plan is more of the same of Belgian dredging project that is detested by the people,” Pamalakaya and SLLM asserted.
The main components of the new Laguna Lake rehabilitation project include rehabilitation, clean-up and lakeshore park development.The lake rehabilitation will focus on construction of four gridlocks to minimize the speed of water flow from the Marikina Riverand strain floaters (trees, branches, water lilies, plastic) that flow to Laguna Lake.
It also entails construction of little dams in Pagsanjan to regulate water flow which can alternatively serve as water source for irrigation; limiting the construction of fish pens and controlling soil erosion reforestation and propagation of vetiver grass’ processing and conversion of water lilies into charcoal and alcohol.
Meanwhile, the Lakeshore Park Development includes the use of the dredged silt from the 90,000 hectares surface area of the lake to be used for embankment along the perimeters of the lake without disturbing the eco-balance; revenue generation from sale of the reclaimed land for commercial structures and other businesses; building of the 220 kilometers baywalk along the shoreline; building of government offices in designated areas; building of port facilities for navigation of ferries/water transport;m building of cable cars from Taytay to Mt. Makiling and Mt. Caliraya passing Talim Island for tourist attraction.
The new Laguna Lake rehabilitation project is supported by environmentalist lawyer Antonio ‘Tonike’ Padilla , socio-economist and broadcaster Ike Seneres, all- women NGO headed by Leonor dela Cruz, president of Women Movement for an Empowered Nation, Inc., Balikatan-People’s Alliance headed by Louie Balbago, Citizen’s Crime Watch headed by Atty Jose Malvar Villegas ; Laguna–based organizations Balik-Kalikasan headed by Pastor RV Castro , Caliraya Multipurpose headed by Lourdes Bautista and Zarajane Jane, TV host and spokesperson for wellness and environment. #