January 8, 2012
Legarda Welcomes Laguna Lake Rehab Plan
Senator Loren Legarda today expressed support over the government's rehabilitation plan for Laguna de Bay, stressing that the lake should be salvaged from degradation as millions of families depend on it for livelihood and sustenance.
"Management of solid waste in the lake, sanitation and public health, congestion of shore land areas, flooding and loss of biodiversity, and decline in water quality--these are among the problems that have sprouted within the lake through the years. We are glad that the government has seen the need for the urgent rehabilitation of the Laguna Lake," Legarda said.
The Senator explained that water resources of the lake and its tributary rivers are used for irrigation, power generation, recreation, domestic water supply, and navigation, among others. About 28,000 fisherfolk families also depend on it for livelihood, it is a major resource in fish production, and it serves as a life support system to about 13 million Filipinos.
"As a multipurpose resource, we must protect and accelerate the development of the Laguna de Bay and its surrounding areas," Legarda said.
The government has allotted P270 million for various projects for Laguna de Bay including the improvement of the lake's water quality and the construction of a new Laguna Lake Development Authority (LLDA) headquarters, which according to the government will be a "green, climate-sensitive and energy-efficient" building.
The rehabilitation program also includes the upgrade of LLDA's laboratory equipment, the concreting of the road from Sitio Pantay, Barangay Dalig to Teresa Recovery Facility (MRF), acquisition of motor boats for LLDA's surveillance and monitoring activities, and strengthening LLDA's developmental mandate through its Project Feasibility Development Team.
In line with this, Legarda also stressed the need to strengthen LLDA's authority over the protection and improvement of the lake, which is the aim of the Senator's proposed measure, Senate Bill 1381 or the Laguna Lake Development Authority Act of 2010.
"While the LLDA exercises policy and planning, regulatory, coordinative and developmental functions, it does not have control over all projects affecting the Laguna de Bay region. Overlapping and even conflicting mandates and programs of the many agencies, local governments and other entities the LLDA coordinates with have been identified as the stumbling block in managing the lake's resource and the intensified conflicts that arise from its multiple uses," she pointed out.
"We have to strengthen the policy-making and regulatory powers of the LLDA, in order to develop, promote, and materialize the vision of sustainability in the Laguna de Bay," Legarda concluded.
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