CA ruling allows Laguna Lake fish pens to continue operations
The government’s target to clear Laguna de Bay of illegal fish pens is suffering a setback as an appellate court has granted affected fish pen operators a motion for reconsideration while reversing an earlier decision, now allowing them to continue operations.
An Oct. 18, 2017-dated copy of the ruling the Environment Department sent Thursday showed that the Court of Appeals (CA) Twelfth Division reversed its earlier decision, declaring as null and void the preliminary injunction issued on May 13, 2014 by the regional trial court Branch 170 in Malabon City.
This reversal allows the group of illegal fish pen operators to continue their operations in an area, covering 977.27 hectares, to 22 corporations, and 169.16 hectares to 34 individuals in Laguna Lake, an area referred to as the “Cataquiz Belt,” as it was then LLDA General Manager Calixto R. Cataquiz issued the permits to operate in 2003.
Current LLDA General Manager Jaime C. Medina expressed dismay over the decision and considered it a setback in the government’s campaign to rid the Laguna Lake of illegal fishpens and other aquaculture structures.
The LLDA has raised that the fish pens were outside the approved Zoning Management Plan (ZOMAP) and congested the Laguna Lake to its maximum carrying capacity of ten percent (10%) for fisheries, as mandated by Republic Act 8550 or the Philippine Fisheries Code of 1998.