Mindanao Lakes Dev't Programs Up

Wednesday, March 21, 2012 06:11 AM    Views : 8126by:MIKE U. CRISMUNDO, MANILA BULLETIN


MAINIT, Surigao del Norte The Protected Areas and Wildlife Bureau (PAWB) of the Region-13 office of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR-13) started mapping up various development projects for Lake Mainit in an objective to preserve and protect the 17,060-hectare lake, the country's fourth largest lake and the deepest lake in the country with maximum depth of about 223 meters.

It was learned that there are two projects in a row to be co-implemented by the PAWB-DENR at the Lake Mainit area, where it is bounded by at least 31 lakeshore villages in the municipalities of Mainit. Tubod, Sison, and Alegria in the province of Surigao del Norte, and Jabonga, Kitcharao, Santiago, and Tubay in Agusan del Norte.

One of the projects is the P5 million partnership for Biodiversity Conservation: Mainstreaming in Local Agriculture Landscapes (Biodiversity Partnership Project) or the BPP that is funded by the United Nation Development Fund (UNDP) with a 2012-2016 project duration.

Another project is the P500,000 Lake Mainit Migratory Birds Conservation Project with a grant from the Regional Ramsar Convention-East Asia Fund (South Korea) set to be implemented this year.

The BPP's general objective is to demonstrate how the local government units (LGUs), with enhanced capacities, and working together with local and national partners, can plan and manage economic activities and growth in ways that will meet landscape-level biodiversity conservation, and sustainable use objectives in critical biographic regions.

Its main focus is also on the fragmentation of Protected Areas (PA) and extensive agricultural production as key constraints of effective conservation through loss of connectivity between important biodiversity corridors and key biodiversity areas (KBAs) threats to habitats of important endangered species and negatives effects on ecosystem functions to cushion impacts of climate change and global warming.

On the other hand, the South Korean-funded Lake Mainit Migratory Birds Conservation Project also aims to establish Lake Mainit as bird sanctuary to protect and conserve the migratory birds at the lake, and also nominate Lake Mainit Bird Sanctuary as a Ramsar site.

During the summer months, particularly January and February, at least 22,000 migratory birds from Europe and other Asian countries continue to migrate to Lake Mainit, consisting of at least 10 various endangered species.

In another development, the Protected Area Management Board (PAMB) of the Allah Valley Protected Landscape (AVPL) composed of heads of concerned LGUs, national government agencies led by the DENR have pushed for the conservation, protection, and development efforts of Lake Sebu as a potential eco-tourism municipality in the province of South Cotabato.

South Cotabato Governor Arthur Y. Pinggoy Jr. stressed that protecting the environment by balancing economics, ecology, and ecotourism are among the top priorities of his administration.

We have to push through with sustainable development practices particularly in the AVPL, which includes Lake Sebu as eco-tourism site, Pingoy said.

South Cotabato is a beneficiary of the Canadian International Development Agency or CIDA-funded Local Government Support Program to develop the Ecotourism Highway that also covers North Cotabato, Sultan Kudarat, and Sarangani.

DENR Regional Executive Director Alfredo Pascual assured the full support of his office to promote ecotourism and uplift sustainably the people's living condition in Lake Sebu.

He said the upgrading and concreting of access roads going to the scenic Seven Falls in Lake Sebu town will eventually bolster local ecotourism activities in the area.

However, Leonisa Alfaro, AVPL protected area supervisor, said that clearance must be secured first from the PAMB before any development project will be undertaken within the Seven Falls area to ensure that they will not adversely affect the eco-tourism efforts of the locality.

Environmental Management Bureau (EMB) representative Wilson Trajico stressed that no road improvement could be constructed unless allowed and approved by PAMB.

Lake Sebu derived its name from the Lake Sebu that forms the three adjacent lakes together with Lahit and Seloton. (With a report from Joseph Jubelag)


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