Upon taking the helm of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources, Secretary Roy A. Cimatu laid down the priority programs that the Department will focus which includes solid waste management, clean air and clean water, among others. The same has been cascaded and are being implemented in the different regions throughout the country, fueled by the successful rehabilitation of Boracay Island as its template.
“The intervention activities that are being conducted by the Environmental Management Bureau (EMB) at Mahagnao Lake which forms part of Mahagnao Volcano Natural Park (MVNP) is highly appreciated as it will provide the Department and the Protected Area Management Board (PAMB), as the policy-making body of protected areas, the needed data for an effective and efficient management plan,” says Tirso P. Parian, Jr., Regional Executive Director of Department of Environment and Natural Resources in Region 8.
For this year, the EMB has identified Mahagnao Lake as one of the water bodies that it will be monitoring. They are set to conduct monthly extraction of water samples and laboratory tests to gauge its fecal coliform level and other water quality indicators. Alongside with the water sampling, EMB will also be conducting Focus Group Discussions (FGDs) to residents living near the lake and within the protected area to gather information on their activities and facilities within the area that may have an effect on the water quality of Mahagnao Lake.
RED Parian stressed that an inventory of all households surrounding the lake has to be initiated by the PAMB to identify possible human-induced sources of contaminants to the lake. Fecal materials both from humans and animal waste have been consistently identified as main contributors of water contaminants resulting to high fecal coliform level. “While inventory of settlements will be monitored, a Biodiversity Monitoring System (BMS) must also be religiously conducted. This will not only identify the presence and condition of biodiversity in the area, but will also determine whether the population of wildlife is numerous enough to affect the coliform level,” explained RED Parian.
The intervention of EMB and other related activities to be approved by the PAMB is important to positively identify issues within the MVNP and in particular, Lake Mahagnao. From that, PAMB will endeavor to come up with solutions and may even tap other government agencies and its stakeholders to work it out.