AGRICULTURE Secretary Emmanuel Piñol said Friday his department must come up with a back-up plan to ensure enough supply of fish in Metro Manila once the dismantling of the fish pens in Laguna de Bay starts.
The fish pens of Laguna de Bay are the sources of 36 percent of the fish requirements of Metro Manila and their dismantling will have an adverse effect on the supply and price of fish, Piñol said.
President Rodrigo Duterte earlier ordered the fish pens dismantled and to bring back the polluted area in its pristine state.
“The fish pens are owned by big politicians: governors and mayors and police and army generals,” Duterte said on Thursday.
“All that is left for the small fishermen are the spaces in between the fish pens.”
Pil said while the order to dismantle was directed at Environment Secretary Regina Lopez, the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources would be actively involved because of the order’s impact on the fish supply in Metro Manila.
A-BFAR must come up with a back-up plan to ensure that during the period of the dismantling of the fish pens, fish from other parts of the countryespecially bangus and tilapiawould be able to fill up the requirements of Metro Manila consumers, Pil said.
He said the DENR plans to implement a massive reforestation program around the lake and make sure that Laguna de Bay no longer becomes the “septic tank” of the communities around it and a dumping pit of industrial waste of the companies in the periphery of the lake.
The municipalities around the lake will be required to put up water treatment facilities so that the waste water from the communities will be clean before it flows into the lake or the DA, a program will be designed to ensure that those involved in the fish pen operations now will have an option on how to go on with their business without crowding the lake with fish pens while the small fishermen are given the opportunity to enjoy the bounty of a rehabilitated Laguna de Bay, Pil said.