Twin threats of disaster in Laguna de Bay

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This article is available in PilipinoBisayaHiligaynonIloco

Communities around Laguna de Bay are now closing ranks to face the threat of disaster brought by the twin projects Laguna Lakeshore Road Network Project (LLRNP) and Laguna Lake Floating Solar Project. Fisherfolk and residents fear the resulting damage to the environment and livelihood, and infringement of their rights.

Laguna de Bay, or Laguna Lake, is the largest lake in the Philippines and the third largest freshwater lake in Southeast Asia. It is important for irrigation, fishing, and water supply in the region. The Laguna Lake Development Authority (LLDA) oversees the “development” of the lake.

LLRNP, push by ADB

As with other grandiose infrastructure projects, the LLRNP will be funded by a loan from the Asian Development Bank (ADB), a bank established by Japan to channel its surplus capital. This is one of the largest projects to be implemented by ADB’s “official development assistance” in the country.

The LLRNP will pave a 37.4 kilometer expressway on the embankment (near the shore) of the lake. The road starts in Lower Bicutan, Taguig City and ends in Calamba City, Laguna. In addition, 6.1 kilometers of connecting roads and 7.3 kilometers of interchanges and slip roads will be constructed. It will cost ₱174.3 billion.

On June 20, the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) reported that the detailed design of the LLRNP is 97% complete. The Marcos regime also met in June with the Export-Import Bank of Korea which will fund a part of the project (a 7.94-kilometer road from Lower Bicutan to Alabang).

Laguna Lake Floating Solar Project

Under the guise of creating “renewable” or clean energy, the Laguna Lake Floating Solar Project is now being pushed. The installation of [ground-mounted] solar panels will cover 2,000 hectares of the lake in parts of the cities of Calamba, Santa Rosa and Cabuyao, and in the towns of Bai and Victoria. Up to an estimated 10,000 fisherfolk and other residents who depend on the lake will be deprived of their livelihood.

The LLDA awarded the contract to install solar panels to AC Energy Corporation of the Ayalas (800 hectares), a partnership of SunAsia Energy Inc and Blueleaf Energy (1,000 hectares), and to the Singaporean company Vena Energy (200 hectares). The companies estimate that they will generate a total of 2.57 gigawatts of electricity.

In June, the Department of Energy awarded SunAsia ten 25-year contracts for its operation. The company said it will start the project next year and begin commercial operations in 2026.

These companies, which usually partner foreign companies because the country is not capable of creating solar panels, are now pouring huge funds into “renewable” energy. They intend to monopolize its operation in the Philippines. Bourgeois compradores and foreign companies earn huge profits for hypocritically promoting “clean” energy in the country.

Widespread destruction

The two projects will cause widespread destruction to Laguna de Bay. LLRNP’s dredging operations will destroy and possibly poison the lake’s water, flora and fauna. It is feared that it will destroy critical habitats and cause frequent flooding especially during heavy rains.

The solar panels that will be mounted will have the same effect. This will affect the quality of the water and the lake’s ecological balance and will prevent sunlight from reaching the water.

Residents also fear possible eviction not only from the lakeshore, but also from the communities where the LLRNP’s “access roads” will be paved. The solar panels will block the passage of boats and occupy even the staging areas of fishing boats.

Amid all these, the Save Laguna Lake Movement and the Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (Pamalakaya)-Bay are carrying out a series of activities such as fora, consultations and gatherings in recent weeks to stop the threat of the two projects in Laguna de Bay. They demand a stop to the projects.

Twin threats of disaster in Laguna de Bay