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Press Release

DA Chief bats for Taal Lake master plan
Agriculture Secretary Proceso J. Alcala urged Batangas local officials, Taal Lake fish cage owners, and concerned government agencies to jointly craft a master development plan to make sustainable use of Taal Lake for the benefit all stakeholders and avoid fishkills in the future.

He made the appeal during a three-hour consultative meeting Monday night (June 6, 2011) in Talisay, Batangas, one of the eight lakeshore towns adversely affected the "fishkill" phenomenon.

He said the plan should be patterned after the Taal Lake management plan previously crafted but was not strictly implemented. This time, the master plan should define the tasks and responsibilities of each group of stakeholders, particularly the fish cage owners and their respective municipal governments that issue the permits to put up fish cages.

Sec. Alcala said the DA through the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) will help spearhead the formulation of said master plan, in partnership with the Batangas provincial government, Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), Taal Lake fish cage owners and fisherfolk, and other concerned groups.

For his part, Batangas provincial administrator Victor Reyes, who represented Governor Vilma Santos, said the provincial and municipal governments have since been promulgating a policy limiting the total number of fish cages to 6,000 units. He said they have been dismantling illegal fish cages and have yet to dismantle more than 1,000 cages, from a high a more than 8,000.

Among those who attended the consultation were Vice Governor Mark Leviste, Rep. Nelson Collantes (3rd D, Batangas), BFAR director Asis Perez, DA assistant secretary Salvador Salacup, BFAR region 4-A OIC-director Esmeralda Manalang, DENR Region IV-A director Nilo Tamoria, DILG Region 4-A director Josefina Castilla-Go, DSWD Region 4-A director Wilma Naviamos, and respective mayors of the eight lakeshore towns of Talisay, Balete, Lumang Lipa, Mataas na Kahoy, Cuenca, Agoncillo, San Nicolas and Laurel.

Among he other commitments and instructions of Sec. Alcala are:
  • He recommended the dismantling of all illegal fish cages, pens and 'baklads' on or before June 15. The dismantling operations will be undertaken by four composite teams from the LGUs, DA, DENR and PNP.
  • To help monitor the dismantling of illegal cages and that no new fish cages are set up, the DA-BFAR will provide two additional patrol boats, and the DENR will provide another one - to augment the two patrol boats of the provincial government.
  • DA through the Bureau of Soils and Water Management (BSWM) has lent 50 water pumps to restore water quality at affected areas. The DA will provide fuel for the pumps, which will be apportioned to affected lakeshore towns.
  • DA-BFAR will stock 5,000 fingerlings of maliputo, and 'bottom feeder' fish species to help cleanse lake water; and explore the use of biotechnology agents or techniques to help cleanse lake water;
  • DA-BFAR and DA-Philippine Fisheries Development Authority (PFDA) will study the feasibility of establishing a fishport, and cold storage and fish processingfacilities in Talisay;
  • DA-BFAR in partnership with the Provincial government will conduct random inspection of fish cages to determine that cage depth is maintained at the prescribed six meters. There were reports that some illegal cages reach a depth of as much as 16 meters.
  • DENR, in coordination with the Provincial government, will spearhead and implement the 're-alignment' and zoning of legitimate fish cages.
  • The provincial government in partnership with municipal governments should maintain the rivers going to Taal Lake, and these should not be used as dumping ground for wasted from swine and poultry farms.
  • He recommended to the DSWD under its "cash for work" program to enlist the fisherfolfk and ruralfolk who will help clean the riverbanks and operate the water pumps. They will be paid for 10-days work. ###
  • Reference: Dir. Asis Perez - CP 09228100463; 929-8074, 929-9597




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