LAGUNA Lake Development Authority (LLDA) General Manager Joey Medina said the development plans of local government units (LGUs) would form part of the agency’s long-term development plan for Laguna de Bay.
He added the LLDA would harmonize the policies and programs of various stakeholders within the Laguna de Bay region with that of the LLDA to ensure sustainable development and boost the production of the country’s largest freshwater lake.
Medina said the agency will initiate separate meetings with various stakeholders, including the national government agencies, LGUs, people’s organizations, fishermen’s organizations, non-governmental organizations, academe and religious institutions to come up with a comprehensive plan for Laguna de Bay.
The LLDA chief said that, in line with President Duterte’s directive, the LLDA will prioritize small fishermen in granting rights over the multipurpose and multiresource lake.
While the Laguna de Bay has various uses, fishery production is the dominant economic activity. It is the country’s largest aquaculture hub, with around 13,000 of the 90,000-hectare lake surface being used to raise bangus and tilapia. Medina, a former mayor of Pateros, said the LLDA is currently working to revise the Zoning and Management Plan (Zomap) for Laguna de Bay and is eyeing to come up with the final draft within the first quarter of the year.
Last revised in 1999, the Zomap designates specific areas for the fish cage and fish pen operation, as well as assign navigational routes of fishing and passenger boats that operate in Laguna de Bay.
The target is to come up with a revised Zomap for approval by the LLDA’s board of directors headed by Environment Secretary Roy A. Cimatu, who sits as chairman of the LLDA within the first quarter of 2018.
“In January and February, we will conduct consultations with various stakeholders. We have already started the process,” Medina said.
Medina said he wants to explain the LLDA’s plans and, at the same time, gather inputs from various stakeholders, particularly LGUs.
Medina wants to integrate the LGUs’ plans and programs with that of the LLDA.
The inputs of the LGUs, he said, would form an integral part of the revised Zomap.
He noted that every LGU has its own development plans and agenda, citing, for instance, two Laguna LGUs that plan to build a hydropower plant in their respective municipalities.
Some LGUs, he added, also have development plans along the shoreline of the lake.