By Nel Andrade
PILILLA, RIZAL– The local government here has declared a town-wide state of calamity, following the massive spread of water hyacinths in Laguna Lake.
Ina resolution declaring the state of calamity, the municipal council cited the impact of the water hyacinths on the fishermen and their families.
The resolution was signed by Mayor Dan Masinsin following a consultation with the fishers groups in the town.
Mario Yokingco, the local Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office head, had said many fishermen have been losing income because the swarms of hyacinth were preventing them from reaching fishing founds in the lake.
The hyacinths have infested the lake since early July this year when the southwest monsoon set in.
Fisherman, Jarantino Pillas, owner of a small fish cage told Manila Bulletin that his losses have amounted to some hundreds of thousands of pesos which he had invested on tilapia fingerlings, which died during the massive fishkill that hit the lake last month.
Pillas and the rest of the more than 800 fishemen are blaming the fishkill on the abnormal overgrowth of the hyacinths, a yearly phenomenon that occurs during the rainy season.
Around 10 hectares of fish cages owned by individual and fishermen cooperatives in this town were hit by the fishkill, according to data obtained by the Manila Bulletin from the local agriculture office.
Last week, Pillas and his fellow fisherfolk erected poles with fences to clear a way to their fishing grounds but the hyacinths have grown to a point that the boats were already trapped on the lakeshore.
Some fishermen resorted to carrying their boats from the hyacinth-clogged lakeshore to another lakeshore to reach the part of the lake less infested by water hyacinths.