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Efforts towards the Management of Lake Lanao and its Watershed

Carmelita O. Garcia-Hansel,

Abstract: Lake Lanao and its watershed are paramount resources not only to the island of Mindanao where they are located, but to the country in broader terms. The sustainability of their biodiversity and hydrological services requires a rational and appropriate management program. This paper reviews the historical various management efforts directed towards the Lake and its watershed up to the present. Since 1953 various Presidential Decrees have provided the management framework on the use of the resource under the leadership of the National Power Corporation. In 1992 following Presidential Proclamation 871 establishing the Lake Lanao Watershed Reserve, Memorandum Order No. 421 created a Lake Lanao Watershed Protection and Development Council (LLWPDC) to be headed by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR). Various management plans had been formulated and some projects initiated such as the LLWPDC’s Integrated Development Plan, the Food and Agriculture Organization Environmental Management Plan, a USAID-EcoGov pilot project on Forest Land Use Planning, and an Asian Development Bank Integrated Natural Resources and Environment Project. However, these have either not been implemented nor completed due to budgetary constraints and/or political circumstances. In January 2011, an interim Protected Area Management Board was organized inasmuch as under the NIPAS Act of 1992, proclaimed watershed reserves are an initial component of NIPAS. However, it requires a Protected Area Suitability Assessment before it can be legislated as a Protected Area; such assessment was completed in February 2012. Most recently, Senator Loren Legarda authored a bill entitled The Lake Lanao Development Authority akin to the Laguna Lake Development Authority, still waiting for congressional action. At present, there are various management issues and concerns, a major one being hydropower generation vis-à-vis the traditional domestic use of the Maranaos, the “people of the lake,” whose unique socio-cultural traits demand attention. Moreover, a number of environmental degradation issues (e.g. lake water greening, E. coli contamination, deforestation, siltation, invasive species, flooding) have been raised. These critical issues and concerns signal the immediate implementation of a participatory management approach involving users, planners and policy-makers at all levels.
Keywords: contamination / land use / Various / Lake Lanao / Watershed Reserve / Lanao Watershed

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