Senate urges LLDA to order Tanduay to pay clean up of Laguna lake

October 29, 2010 12:49 pm 

MANILA, Oct. 28 -– The Senate committee on environment and natural resources urged on Thursday the Laguna Lake Development Authority to order the Tanduay Distillers Inc. to pay clean up drive of the lake following the fish kill caused by alcohol spill.

”We had asked them (LLDA) to order Tanduay Distillers Inc. to pay for the clean up under the penalties in the Clean Water Act, so they will pay for the clean up and they can very well afford it,” committee chairman senator Juan Miguel Zubiri said.

Zubiri made the order to LLDA after conducting Senate inquiry into the fish kill last October 13 when Tanduay plant burned down, forcing its management to release alcohol that caused a three-day fish kill in the Laguna lake.

”It was very clear that during the fire in the Tanduay Distillers plant in Sta. Rosa, Laguna, chemical spillage occurred leading to tributaries going to the Laguna Lake which caused the fishkill to particular fish pen operators and small fisherfolks,” Zubiri said.

Zubiri said his committee will summon officials from Tanduay Distillers after its owner Lucio Tan failed to respond to the invitation.

Aside from fish kill, Zubiri also grilled the LLDA as well as the National Housing Authority and DENR for their failure to control informal settlers around the Laguna lake.

”We discovered during the investigation that there are more than 175,000 families living around Laguna lake and these are informal settlers. That's almost a million people,” Zubiri said.

The NHA and LLDA as well as the Department of Public Works and Highway said they have so far relocated 11,000 families since former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo revoked presidential proclamation 704 issued by then President Fidel V. Ramos that allowed structures around the lake.

Most of the people relocated came from the Manggahan floodway and the Lupang Arenda which are considered very dangerous for occupancy.

”When you cover garbage at after a long period of time it will produce methane that could explode and this is inhabitable place,” Zubiri said.

The lawmaker said the problem is gargantuan but “it has to be addressed by long term planning and solutions which today unfortunately they failed to present that’s why we set another hearing on the second week of November.”

Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile attended the hearing, supporting the committee's effort to come up with legislation that would finally stop pollutions that threatening Laguna Lake.

”It is only proper that officials and other individuals should take responsibility for their failure to follow the law in protecting the lake,” Enrile said. (PNA) LOR/jfm

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