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In a report from Remate on the current anniversary of the people power EDSA Uprising in 1986 Pamalakaya, a fisher-folk advocacy organization, said that former president Cory Aquino never looked after the needs of poor fisher-folk and poor communities dependent on fishing on Laguna Lake:
Lake based groups Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (Pamalakaya), Anakpawis partylist-Laguna Lake chapter and Save Laguna Lake Movement (SLLM) said the promise of the late President Corazon Aquino to uplift the lives of dictatorship devastated people during the popular uprising in Edsa in 1986 never happened.
“27 years after the first popular uprising in Edsa, poverty and hunger continue to sweep this 90,000 hectare lake . Former President Cory Aquino just continue the structural adjustment plan of the late strongman Ferdinand Marcos along the liberalization policy of IMF-WB,” the groups lamented.
“The sell out of Laguna Lake to private corporations and foreign monopolies was adopted and continued to the fullest by former President Cory Aquino, and now the son — President Benigno Simeon Aquino III is following the old Jurassic tradition of auctioning the lake to the highest bidder,” noted Anakpawis partylist vice chairperson Fernando Hicap and Pamalakaya vice chairperson Salvador France.
Pamalakaya and Anakpawis partylist will kick an across Laguna Lalke signature drive today to promote the Laguna de Bay Fisherpeople Electoral Agenda.
Organizers of the signature drive said they intend to initially gather 50,000 signatures of small fishermen and lake poor residents, which will be submittted to senatorial and local candidates running in the May 2013 elections during candidates forum the groups will stage between March and April.
“The Laguna Lake Fisherpeople Electoral Agenda will represent the collective sentiment of small fishermen and other poor sectors across the 90,000 hectare lake will be submitted to national and local candidates in an electoral forum in March and April. Many of these demands were presented to the administration of former President Aquino but she ignored these legitimate concerns,” they said.
We will raise the bar of electoral exercise by raising these pressing issues and legitimate concerns pertaining to hunger and poverty in Laguna de Bay,” the Anakpawis partylist and Pamalakaya leaders said.
According to a joint survey conducted by Anakpawis partylist and Pamalakaya early this year, widespread hunger is all over of lake, with 6 out of 10 fishing families, including poor and low income families have failed to complete the required three-meals a day due to declining fish catch and lack of economic and livelihood opportunities around the lake.
The groups said hunger and lack of food is expected to hit an all time high this year and this problem will prolong beginning March up to December this year due to year round season of declining fish catch and other environmental factors like the proliferation of invasive species in Laguna Lake like janitor fish, knife fish and the Chinese softshelled snake turtles.
[T]he signature drive will call on the national government to drop the ambitious Laguna Lake Master Development Plan which envisions the implementation of 54 major projects across the lake that would cost taxpayers money by P 400-B from 2013 to 2025.
The master plan involves the construction of 100-kilometer ring dike around the lake, the dredging of the 94,000 hectare lake, the construction of high end condominiums and eco-tourisim facilities, the revival of ferry transport system, the reclamation of not less than 5,000 hectares of lake waters in South Metro Manila, the tapping of Laguna Lake as main source of water for water concessionaires Maynilad and Manila Water and the construction of the ambitious Rizal International Airport in Talim Island.