LLDA backs proposed P609-B Laguna de Bay rehab project

Robie de Guzman   •   November 26, 2020   •   473

MANILA, Philippines – The Laguna Lake Development Authority (LLDA) has expressed support for an unsolicited proposal from a private consortium to rehabilitate and develop Laguna de Bay.

LLDA General Manager Jaime Medina said the agency’s Board of Directors has endorsed the proposed P609-billion rehabilitation and development project “after months of review and evaluation.”

LLDA is an agency under the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR).

Medina said the endorsement of the project came after the spate of typhoons, the latest of which was Typhoon Ulysses that triggered massive flooding in the National Capital Region, Rizal province and other areas.

“This is a welcome opportunity as this will truly aid in addressing the Laguna Lake’s continual problems in siltation, industrial pollution, sedimentation, and lakeshore flooding,” he said in a statement.

Medina said the project proponent has been issued “original proponent status” (OPS) and that the project is now under review by the National Economic Development Authority (NEDA), through its Public-Private Partnership Center.

The consortium, after being granted the OPS, now has the authority to match better offers submitted by other rivals when a Swiss challenge is undertaken for the project, he explained.

The LLDA endorsement will be evaluated by NEDA’s Investment Coordination Committee to determine the reasonable rate of return and other parameters for negotiation, Medina said.

The decision on whether to approve or deny the proposal will be up to the NEDA Board, he added.

The rehabilitation project, which is proposed to be undertaken in a span of 5 to 10 years, includes the dredging of approximately 800 million cubic meter of silt and mud, assistance to affected fisherfolk and other stakeholders, and silt transfer and development of pre-identified catchment area to be done in phases while the dredging process progresses.

The unsolicited proposal will be under the Build-Own-Operate (BOO) scheme, which means that the proponent will finance, construct, operate, maintain and own facility and can collect fees and charges to recover their investment.

The government will provide the authorization and assistance in securing the BOO contract and has the option to buy the output or service provided by the operator.

The consortium is led by Taguig Lake City Development Corporation (TLCDC), with two big foreign companies as partners that have the experience, expertise and track record in undertaking such project.

The LLDA said it has sent a briefer thru a Memorandum to the Office of the President regarding the urgent need to rehabilitate the waters of Laguna Lake in order to sustain and enhance aquatic life therein; the critical need to increase and improve the holding capacity and water quality of the Laguna Lake in order to viably and effectively access the lake as a domestic water source, and the real potential of Laguna Lake and its outlying areas to significantly enhance water quality and boost socio-economic growth in the region and in the country.

The Laguna de Bay is the largest lake in the Philippines, with around 100 rivers and streams draining into it, making it prone to flooding. The Napindan Channel, through the Pasig River, drains the lake waters to Manila Bay.

DENR to conduct nationwide waterways dredging project, evaluates Laguna Lake

Marje Pelayo   •   November 17, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – Environment Secretary Roy Cimatu wants an immediate assessment of the major waterways like rivers across the country to determine which of them needs to undergo dredging.

Environment Undersecretary Jonas Leones said the Department is planning a dredging operation in the Cagayan River which carries water from Nueva Ecija to Appari. 

The recent onslaught of Typhoon Ulysses caused the river to overflow its banks and submerge nearby areas like Cagayan and Isabela.

In his last briefing with President Rodrigo Duterte, Cimatu said the government will not shell out any amount for the project but it will gain from it instead.

“It will be really a request of the governor to allow a contractor to clean or to dredge the river and at the same time in exchange of that, he has allowed to sell this sand,” Cimatu said.

“But they have to pay as much as what the mining company is paying for – 4% excise tax as a revenue of the government,” he added.

Meanwhile, the Laguna Lake Development Authority (LLDA) is studying the proposed plan to rehabilitate the lake.

According to the agency, the Laguna Lake is now about 2.5 meters deep as compared to 5 meters that the locals used to observe in the past.

According to LLDA Department Manager III Emeterio Hernandez, they have to remove at least 2 meters of sediments or silt from the lake, especially at the opening section and the western section to make space for water flowing from nearby waterways like Marikina River.

“Ang ibang common term dyan is parang batya na sinasahod niya lahat ng ulan na nanggagaling sa ating mga watershed,” Hernandez said.

[The common term for that is like a basin that catches the rain coming from the watershed.]

“So kung ang batya natin ay medyo mababaw na, so ineexpect natin na kaunting dagdag lang ng tubig mag ooverflow siya,” he added.

[So if the basin becomes shallow, with only a small amount the water will overflow.]

No government funding will be required for the dredging operation, Hernandez said.

Once approved, the project is expected to commence next year and will be completed hopefully within the next 3 to 5 years. MNP (with reports from Rey Pelayo)

LLDA dismantles 1,610 hectares of fishpens in Laguna lake

UNTV News   •   June 21, 2017

IMAGE_UNTV_NEWS_062017_LAGUNA DE BAY

The Laguna Lake Development Authority (LLDA) has dismantled more than 1,600 hectares of fish pens in the Laguna de Bay, out of the more than 4,000 hectares of fish pens needed to be dismantled.

The LLDA said they prioritized the dismantling of large fish cages owned by huge corporations.

“We still have a lot of dismantle because in the previous days, and years, the aquacultures of fish pens have reached 14,000 hectares. But the hectares available for structures to make the lake sustainable are 9,200 hectares,” said LLDA general manager Jaime C. Medina.

Meanwhile, the LLDA assures that it will not issue permits to corporations seeking to re-establish fish pens in the lake.

The agency says it will prioritize instead the issuance of permits to small fishermen.

“When the LLDA releases new permits in 2018, the priority will not be big corporations, but small fishermen,” Medina added.

LLDA’s dismantling of fish pens in the Laguna Lake is ongoing. – Mon Jocson | UNTV News and Rescue

LLDA assures adequate fish supply in markets near Laguna Lake

admin   •   March 18, 2017

The Laguna Lake Development Authority assures the public that there will be no scarcity of fish supply despite implemented regulation on fish pens and fish cages.

“Ang nilabas na board resolution ay hindi zero fishpen policy, hindi zero fish cage policy. Ngayon po ay meron lamang tayong moratorium sa loob ng isang taon (The released board resolution is not zero fish pen policy, not zero fish cage policy. We now only have a one-year moratorium),said LLDA GM Jaime Medina.

The Laguna Lake Development Authority (LLDA) sees no shortage of fish supply in Metro Manila markets and nearby areas because aquaculture in Laguna Lake will not be totally dismantled.

General Manager Jaime Medina said, experts are now studying the real capacity of the lake in order to identify the areas that are feasible for structure like fish pens and fish cages.

The lake has a total area of 90,000 hectares with a designated carrying capacity at 10% of its surface area, based on Republic Act 8550 or the Philippine Fisheries Code.

“Yung 10% po na sinasabi sa batas, yung ho ay walang scientific na basehan para sa Laguna de Bay. Kaya ang amin pong sinasabi, … magkakaroon ng panibagong determinasyon ano talaga ang kayang i-sustain, anu talaga ang sukat na kinakailangan para maging sustainable ang aquaculture sa Laguna de Bay (The 10% stated in the law has no scientific basis on Laguna de Bay. What we are trying to say…there will be a new way of determining the actual size required to have a sustainable aquaculture in Laguna de Bay), Medina added.

The LLDA is giving the fish pen operators until March 31 to voluntarily dismantle their structures.

Starting April, LLDA will demolish fish pens operating without permits and violating the current rules. Exempted from the demolition are structures with an area of 1-hectare and below.

The agency is currently verifying  legitimate beneficiaries from among the list of 22,000 fishermen operating at the lake as they will be given priority after the moratorium is lifted in December.

“Kung maliliit na mangingisda na ang priority kailangang siguraduhin na ngayon na sila ay mas sapat na kaalaman. Sila ay may mayroong marketing strategy, at the same time ang pinakaimportante sila ay may pondo, puhunan para doon sa gagawin nilang hanap-buhay. Kaya pati yan sa ngayon palang ay hinahanda na ng LLDA (If the small fishermen will now be the priority, it should be ensured that they have enough know-how, marketing strategy and and most importantly, funds for their planned livelihood. Even these are being prepared by LLDA),” said Medina.

LLDA is poised to lose around P50-M due to the moratorium and cost of demolition.  But for them, what is more important is the rehabilitation of the lake which will eventually benefit not only the small fishermen but the community surrounding the area. — Rey Pelayo | UNTV News & Rescue

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