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: