By Apipa Bagumbaran
MARAWI CITY, Lanao del Sur–Around 300 environment advocates marched Tuesday, July 13, to the lakeshore barangays of Marantao town to join the clean-up drive spearheaded by the Office of Member of Parliament (MP) Maisara Dandamun-Latiph.
Dubbed Siyap Ko Ranaw (Care for Lake Lanao), the activity aims to raise awareness of the importance of Lake Lanao and engage the community in preserving and protecting the Lake.
Sahanee Panolong, Environment Sectoral Representative of the Office of MP Maisara Dandamun-Latiph, said the clean-up is also in support of the BTA-Parliament Bill No. 32 or the Act Creating the Ranao Development Authority. The bill, she said, promotes the proper utilization, development, and preservation of Lake Lanao.
The clean-up drive was conducted in partnership with the local government unit of Marantao, the Ministry of Environment, Natural Resources and Energy (MENRE) – Lanao del Sur, and the National Power Corporation – Watershed Management Division.
Provincial Environment, Natural Resources and Energy Officer Asmarie M. Labao said preserving the environment especially Lake Lanao is not solely the responsibility of MENRE but a shared responsibility of all stakeholders.
“We should clean the lake. This is one of the largest freshwaters in the Philippines. Alam natin na kung mawala ito maapektuhan ang ating hydroelectric power, maapektuhan ang ating transportation, maapektuhan ang livelihood ng mga Meranaw, maraming mga fisherfolks ang nakadepende sa Lake (We know that if it disappears it will affect our hydroelectric power, it will affect our transportation, it will affect the livelihood of the Meranaws, many fisherfolks are dependent on the Lake),” he said.
For his part, Marantao mayor Akira Alonto thanked the volunteers of the clean-up drive. He also urged stakeholders particularly the youth to help the preserving Lake Lanao
Most of the volunteers are from youth organizations namely, Advocate Youth Development, Hijab for A Cause, Adopt a Morit Program, Jamiyyatul Waqf Al-Islamie, Lake Lanao College Incorporated, LCP 1UMMA1LOVE, Jamiatu Muslim Mindanao, Pro-Youth Active, SK Federation, Ugop Ko Masa Organization, Meranao Focus (M-Focus), Abante Kabataan Organization, Stalwarts Organization, Philippine Muslim Student Association, Moriatao o Ranaw, Alshabaab Alhaalimun, Antap Organization, and Butig Youth Movement for Peace.
Interns from the Bureau of Fire Prevention and Philippine National Police in Marantao as well as personnel of the Municipal Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office also participated in the clean-up.
The Office of MP Latiph plans to hold the same clean-up drive in watershed areas and other lakeshore municipalities of the province. Philippine Information Agency