Lanao Sur province and MSU forge Lake Lanao protection deal

Climate Change/Environment • Tue Jan 31, 2017 11:19 AM  •  451   0
By John Unson
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Habib Macaayong of the Mindanao State University and Lanao del Sur Gov. Bedjoria Soraya Alonto-Adiong signed the Lake Lanao protection deal on Monday. (JOHN UNSON)
Habib Macaayong of the Mindanao State University and Lanao del Sur Gov. Bedjoria Soraya Alonto-Adiong signed the Lake Lanao protection deal on Monday. (JOHN UNSON)
MARAWI CITY --- The largest state-owned university in Mindanao and the provincial government of Lanao del Sur agreed on Monday to jointly protect Lake Lanao and preserve its dwindling endemic fish species.

Lanao del Sur Gov. Bedjoria Soraya Alonto-Adiong and Habib Macaayong, president of the Mindanao State University (MSU), have signed a memorandum of agreement binding their offices to cooperate on the projects.

The deal, forged at the provincial capitol in Marawi City in the presence of local officials, is meant to improve the productivity of local fishing communities while ensuring the abundance of fishes in the lake.

The downstream flow of waters from the lake that drains into the shores of Lanao del Norte propels hydroelectric plants supplying more than half of Mindanao’s daily power needs.

The MSU, the largest government university in Southern Philippines, has a fisheries college employing professors with doctorate studies on Asian freshwater fishes and on captive propagation of inland fish species with high market value.

The university, located in Marawi City, will study how the provincial governor’s office and local officials in municipalities along Lake Lanao can improve the productivity of Maranaws engaged in inland fishing without causing the depletion of fishes in the lake.

Salma Jayne Tamano, Lanao del Sur’s provincial information officer, said on Tuesday the agreement crafted by the president of MSU and Alonto-Adiong is in support of the environment-protection thrusts of Department of Environment and Natural Resources Secretary Gina Lopez and the executive department of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao.  

The crafting on Monday of the agreement between MSU and the provincial government preceded the activation by the office of Alonto-Adiong in early January of an inter-agency provincial Watershed Management Council to help the national government manage Lake Lanao.

The national government devolved the functions of DENR to ARMM based on its regional charter, the Republic Act 9054, but the protection and management of Lake Lanao and its watersheds remained an exclusive authority of Malacañang.

ARMM Regional Governor Mujiv Hataman suspended all logging operations in forested areas around the lake in 2012.

The ban is still on and regional officials have not ceased in preventing poaching of timbers in rainforests in protected hinterlands surrounding Lake Lanao.
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