by Maria Theresa B. Panzo, OPI
Researchers and stakeholders gathered on July 19 at the Institute Board Room for a community validation on the results of the three initial studies of Project 6 (Socioeconomic and Political Dimensions of Lake Lanao) under the program, “Comprehensive Studies on Lake Lanao for Sustainable Development” funded by the National Research Council of the Philippines (NRCP).
Assistant Project Leader Dr. Nimfa L. Bracamonte disclosed that the gathering is held for two reasons: share the highlights of the research of Project 6 and to solicit recommendations from participants, some of whom are from the local government units of Saguiaran, Tamparan, Ganassi, Balindong, and Marantao, which are the research areas.
“We are building on the sustainable development pillars and, of course, the integrated ecosystem approach. We uphold that as we face the global warming issues, there is a need for us to integrate the human well-being framework into the biophysical, believing that what happens to the people is actually an aftermath of the environment and, at the same time, the anthropogenic activities will impact on the environment,” Bracamonte explained.
Despite the ongoing Marawi conflict which is not part of their present data, Bracamonte, a retired Sociology professor of the Institute and former Director of Extension, is confident that this will be part of the recommendations for succeeding steps to be taken by the researchers.
In his message, Institute Chancellor Dr. Sukarno D. Tanggol, who is the program and project leader, expressed his happiness on the progress of the project and encouraged researchers to continue with their studies as “there are so many researchable topics in Lake Lanao and six projects are not enough”.
The three studies under Project 6 are: “Social Carrying Capacity of Lake Lanao” with Dr. Bracamonte and Prof. Arnold P. Alamon as researchers; “Water Utilization of Lake Lanao: Its Implications to Economic and Sociocultural Development” with researchers Dr. Liwayway S. Viloria, Dr. Myrma Jean A. Mendoza, and Dr. Sulpecia L. Ponce; and “Peace and Governance: The Realities and Challenges Towards Sustainable Development in the Lake Lanao Region” with Dr. Tanggol and Dr. Ma. Cecilia M. Ferolin as researchers. The project has 500 survey respondents from the five research areas (100 per area).
In her presentation of the outputs for Study 1 on “Social Carrying Capacity of Lake Lanao”, Dr. Bracamonte emphasized that they focused on socially controlled resource distribution particularly fish and other political aspects. They also believe that “people are integral in the ecosystem” and that “opinions of stakeholders are important”.
“Based on existing data, we tried to look into the existing facilities and services in the areas of health, education, police, and fire personnel vis-à-vis the population, and we look into the adaptive capacity of the community,” she added.
The study also stressed on important things that residents of Lake Lanao would want to happen in their place. These include maintaining the cleanliness of Lake Lanao, restoring its beauty, preserving and developing the lake, building fish port for easy access, establishing a fishpond and public toilet, and peace.
For Study 2 entitled “Water Utilization of Lake Lanao: Its Implications to Economic and Sociocultural Development”, researchers Dr. Viloria, Dr. Mendoza, and Dr. Ponce presented their outputs which include a comparison of the modes of Lake Lanao resource utilization in the domestic, economic, and cultural/religious aspects before and after 1992; contribution of the Lake Lanao water resource utilization to the socio-economic and cultural (health practices and indigenous knowledge system) development of selected lakeshore communities; and implications of Lake Lanao water resource utilization on sustainable water resource governance and disaster resilience and climate change adaptive strategies.
Results of the third study on “Peace and Governance: The Realities and Challenges Towards Sustainable Development in the Lake Lanao Region” was presented by Dr. Ferolin. Highlights include concerns of respondents on the Lake Lanao watershed situation and activities that can harm Lake Lanao. More than half of the respondents in Saguiaran, Ganassi, and Tamparan and 40 percent of Marawi and Balindong respondents are aware of ongoing activities that can harm the lake. Of these activities, garbage throwing topped the list followed by logging in the forests, dynamite fishing, and other destructive forms of fishing.
An open forum followed the presentations where participants gave their comments and suggestions to improve the researchers’ studies.