July 23, 2015– Shortly before Benigno Aquino’s last State of the Nation Address on Monday, fisherfolk from the city of Muntinlupa stage a fluvial parade to protest the president’s Laguna de Bay Masterplan 2020.
Some 50 fishing boats joined in the procession to register the fishing community’s dissent against the implementation of the second largest Public-Private Partnership (PPP) under the Aquino administration. The said privatization plan aims to construct a 47-km expressway dike and reclaim 700 hectares of water for commercial, industrial, and eco-tourism use.
Ronaldo Molera, spokesperson for Save Laguna Lake Movement-Muntinlupa, fears that the reclamation of Laguna Lake will spell loss of livelihood and homes for the fisherfolk. He likens the lake to a bank: “Ang sabi nga ng matatanda rito tungkol sa lawa, ‘Bangko mo ‘yan, anak. ‘Kung lumusong ka lang, siguradong mayroon kang mawiwithdraw na pang-ulam, pambigas. Sigurado ‘yan.”
Members of Save Laguna Lake Movement and Nagkakaisang Samahan ng Maliliit na Mangingisda sa Muntinlupa (Nagsama) call to stop the implementation of the said private-public partnership, which they say is a sign of progress, but progress only for the few private businessmen who are part of the undertaking.