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Wednesday, April 17, 2024

Development agency sought for Lake Lanao management

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DAVAO CITY—An agency responsible for the development and preservation of Lake Lanao will be established once the Bangsamoro Parliament approves BTA Bill 111, a group of Bangsamoro lawmakers said.

Authors and sponsors said their bill to establish the Ranaw Development Authority (RDA) would be the primary government agency “that is responsible for coordination, planning, management and implementation of development programs and resource utilization of inland waters covered by the Ranao region.”

The RDA would be a quasi-judicial regulatory body “that will oversee the use, exploration, development, protection, restoration and maintenance of Lake Lanao and the area’s natural resources.”

It would be attached to the Ministry of Environment, Natural Resources and Energy (Menre).

The Ranaw Region, as defined in the bill, includes all inland waters identified as Ranaw and all other lakes within Lanao del Sur, as well as all towns and municipalities. The Ranaw Development Authority would be composed of a board of directors led by Lanao del Sur’s Menre provincial director.

The agency would craft a comprehensive master plan in coordination with the local government units around the lake.

Former Member of the Parliament Atty. Maisara Dandamun-Latiph filed the bill in the first Parliament during the 2019 to 2022 transition of the Bangsamoro Transition Authority. It was reintroduced in the second parliament by MPs Diamila Ramos, Lanang Ali Jr., Ali Solaiman, Marjanie Macasalong, Abdullah Macapaar, Basit Abbas, Said Shiek, Ali Montaha Babao, Khalid Hadji Abdullah, Abdulazis Amenodin, Nabila Margarita Pangandaman, Amroussi Macatanong, Eddie Alih, Amilbahar Mawallil and Rasol Mitmug Jr.

Largest lake

THE Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) said Lake Lanao is the largest lake in Mindanao and the second largest in the Philippines. It is also considered one of the 15 ancient lakes in the world.

The lake has five watersheds with rivers and major tributaries totaling 431 kilometers. The waters from these rivers and tributaries drain into the lake and goes out through only one outlet, the Agus River in Lanao del Norte that flows southwest into Iligan Bay via two channels, the Maria Cristina Falls, the largest waterfall in the country and Linamon Falls.

The total area of its inland water is 336 hectares, with a surface area of about 36,300 hectares. It was proclaimed a watershed reserve under Proclamation 871 issued on February 26, 1992. It was also included in the initial components of the National Protected Areas System (NIPAS).

The DENR said there are several issues and concerns in this river basin. Some of these are related to changes in climatological conditions. There’s also land degradation attributed to slope and terrain of watershed and the dislocation of timberlands in flatlands. Of course, there is also deforestation.

The DENR also noted that agricultural activities encroach into fragile ecosystems while sand and gravel quarrying operated in critical zones. Ironically, most localities in the lake area do not have water for drinking or irrigation.

Other issues and concerns cited by the DENR include the serious siltation of the littoral zones of Lake Lanao, the overdrawing of water from the lake and an unutilized aquifer in the Lumba-a Bayabo area.

Image credits: Google Earth

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