LANAO DEL SUR — The Biodiversity, Ecosystem, Research and Development Services (BERDS) of the Ministry of Environment, Natural Resources, and Energy (MENRE) – BARMM conducted a biodiversity assessment at different proposed protected area in Lanao del Sur in a series of ocular visits on 19-25 September 2021.

In coordination with the Provincial ENRE Office of Lanao del Sur, the BERDS successfully visited and assessed the ranges of Mt. Piyapayungan and other vegetative forests in selected municipalities in the province.

In the visit to Sumpit where the Malaig river traverses, water from this river and other tributaries drain into the lake and passes through Masui. The vegetation area is still dense and maintains its original cover. Moving to Lake Butig in Masui, water hyacinths are found to be more abundant in the afternoon due to the wind breezing from east to west. Found fish species in the lake include Climbing gourami (Anabas testudineus) local pupuyo, Snakehead murrel (Channa striata) local alwan, Walking catfish (Clarias batrachus) locally katipa, Common carp (Cyprinus carpio carpio) local lidep, Sundari bele (Glossogobius giuris) local kadulog, Mozambique tilapia (Oreochromis mossambicus) local tilapia, Spotte barb or common barb (Puntius binotatus) local pet, and Snake skin gourami (Trichopodus pectoralis) local gurami.

PENRE Officer of Lanao del Sur Asmarie M. Labao said that they “fully support the BERDS’ undertaking as they gather necessary data that would help materialize the proclamation of Piyapayungan Range as a protected area.”

Representing BERDS were Chief Baharodin Baulo, Chief Annie Dumamba, Datun Salipada, Joeffry Kamid, Wildanah Usman, Bairaiya Salipada, Al-Azhar Silo, Gatocod Rascal, and Amir-Khan Datumanong.

In addition, the BERDS was also able to observe Lake Lanao and its biodiversity properties. Due to the pollution coming from commercial buildings, Lake Lanao often contains high pollution levels. Aquatic species may experience high contaminants as some pollutants don’t readily dissolve and dilute in water. Instead, they are taken up by these species.

The BERDS and the PENRE Office of Lanao del Sur are committed to conduct further research and study on the biodiversity aspects of the province to efficiently develop a plan for its protection and conservation.