"What this Country needs is not a change OF men but a change IN men" March 1980

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

A Subic in Laguna de Bay

Seeing the many opportunities in the Laguna de Bay region, Senator Richard J. Gordon (Ind.) is pushing for the development of the area to turn it into a Subic Bay that would attract investors and provide more jobs for the people.

During a consultative meeting on Monday with officials of the Laguna Lake Development Authority (LLDA) and other concerned government agencies, Gordon said that the aim of his proposal under Senate Bill 3428 is to develop the Laguna de Bay area by having a master plan that would be executed by one authority only.

"The vision here really is to create something like Subic Bay in the Laguna de Bay area. The damage wrought by typhoon Ondoy in the area is the result of a lack of a master plan, and when the authority does not have the kind of powers that can really clean up or make sure the enforcement of the law is undertaken for the common good," he said.

"Laguna de Bay is the largest inland body of water in the Philippines. It is located in the major growth corridor of the country. The water resources of the lake and its tributary rivers are used for irrigation, power generation, recreation, domestic water supply, and navigation, among others," he added.

Gordon pointed out that that the LLDA was created to promote the development of the Laguna de Bay area. However, the agency does not have control over all projects affecting the region.

"Overlapping and even conflicting mandates and programs of the many agencies, local governments and other entities the LLDA coordinates with have been identified as the stumbling block in managing the lake's resource and the intensified conflicts that arise from its multiple uses," he said.

The senator explained that his bill aims to strengthen the policy-making and regulatory powers of the LLDA, in order that it can realize the vision of a self-sufficient and highly dynamic integrated water resource management authority.

Under SB 3428, one of the functions of the LLDA would be to develop a long-term program to attract more private-sector-driven investments into the Bay Region in consonance with a regional master plan, which shall be formulated in consultation with stakeholders, concerned government agencies, local government units (LGUs), and civil society in the Bay Region.

"You can make it like Subic where you can make a master plan and you can come up with leases. You can attract investors and make money on this lake so that you don't need to get a budget from the national government," Gordon said.

"What we are looking for is the common good. The common good is one that enriches the country, our governance and our sustainability as a nation," he added.

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