Lake groups cool to “food for work” proposal of LLDA
LAGUNA Lake based groups are not receptive to the proposal of Laguna Lake Development Authority (LLDA) general manager Neric Acosta to involve fisherfolk and local residents in a clean up activity in exchange for some cash under the food for work program of the social welfare department.
Secretary Acosta had made a proposal in a recent meeting with Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (Pamalakaya), in which the LLDA will involve poor fisherfolk and jobless residents to a lake wide clean up in the 90,000 hectare lake in exchange for cash under the food for work program of the DSWD.
According to Pamalakaya national chair Fernando Hicap, Pamalakaya said the LLDA’s food-for-work program in Laguna Lake is cover up to the life threatening Laguna Lake Master Development Plan, which the group said is a major Public-Private Partnership (PPP) project in Laguna de Bay.
The group said behind the charity project of food for work is the grandiose plan to transform Laguna Lake into a major commercial, industrial and eco-tourism hub in Calabarzon area.
Pamalakaya said there are 54 major PPP projects in Laguna Lake which include the reclamation of more than 5,000 hectares of lake waters in South Metro Manila, the 100-kilometer road dike from Taytay, Rizal to Sta.Cruz in Laguna and the construction of Rizal International Airport in Talim Island.
The LLDA chief mentioned during a dialogue said he will ask the national government to implement the food for work program in cooperation with the local governments surrounding the lake.
Acosta did not mention any fix amount for the labor the fisherfolk and local residents will receive but Pamalakaya’s Hicap pegged the amount between P 300 to P 400 per day.
The food for work program usually last for a week and a maxiumum of one month depending on the required days of work for a particular government project.
“This food for work solution to across-the-the lake poverty in Laguna Lake is very short term, flimsy, trivial and highly inflammatory. Please allow us to set the record straight. What Laguna Lake people want are secured jobs, secured fishing environment and decent livelihood,” the Pamalakaya official said.
Hicap said like the controversial Conditional Cash Transfer (CCT), the food for work program has become the subject of complaints of small fisherfolk all over the country.
He cited the case of small fishermen in Bacoor, Cavite, where small fisherfolk and coastal residents who were enrolled in the food for work program failed to receive their compensation from the local government and municipal office of the Department of Agriculture (DA).
The fishermen in Bacoor were asked to conduct a clean up in their communities and along Bacoor Bay and were asked to work for five days to a week, but their compensation were either reduced by half or were not given on time as agreed upon between them and the food for work coordinators.