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COA flags LLDA for failure to collect P29.46M in fees

MANILA, Philippines — The Laguna Lake Development Authority (LLDA) has failed to collect some P29.46 million in required fees in 2018 from operators of fish pens and fish cages in Laguna de Bay, according to the Commission on Audit (COA).

In its annual audit report, the COA said that of the 3,308 fish cage and fish pen owners, only 110 or 3.3 percent paid their dues.

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Under existing rules, the LLDA is required to collect P6,000 per hectare covered by fish pens, and P4,200 per hectare occupied by fish cages.

If the fees are uncollected, the agency withholds the issuance of annual permits.

“In 2018, it appears that the delinquent operators are continuously operating even without valid Fish Pen Permit and Fish Cage Permit. LLDA has no available list of Delinquent Fish Pen/Fish Cage Operators,” the report said.

The audit body said in its report that the low turnout of payment of fees could be attributed to the lapses and deficiencies in collection procedures after the LLDA lifted a 2017 moratorium on aquaculture operations.

One-year moratorium

The COA explained that in February 2017, the government issued a one-year moratorium on fish culture operations in Laguna de Bay.

Under that moratorium, all existing operators were ordered to harvest their fish stocks by March 2017, and no new stocking of fingerlings would be allowed.

However, four months into the moratorium, on June 7, 2017, the moratorium was lifted, with the LLDA Board amending the previous resolution, limiting the operating permit only to compliant fish structure owners.

The amendment also put in place a policy that limits fish cage or fish pen structures to 25 hectares.

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TAGS: COA, Commission On Audit, Laguna de Bay, LLDA
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