PUALAS, Lanao del Sur — In line with the efforts to support the greening program and sustain the peace and eco-tourism development of Lake Dapao, the Provincial Environment, Natural Resources, and Energy (PENRE) Office of Lanao del Sur celebrated its first-ever Pagana Festival in Municipality of Pualas, LDS, on February 28.

The highlight of the festival is the Multi-Stakeholder Ceremonial Planting for the “Bamboo for Peace” Project, held at Camp Ansar, Barangay Dapao, Municipality of Pualas, which deems representing a new beginning for Pualas, such as the Lake Dapao Ecotourism Development, which will eventually bring positive impact on the municipality and even help lift the economy. It was launched by the LGU-Pualas, in support of the greening program with the endeavors of MENRE-LDS and the MILF Community.

Bamboo has been approved as a species for reforestation in watershed rehabilitation. As the species absorb excess rainfall to prevent flooding, it stabilizes the soil to prevent erosion. It can also be processed into various items, including pulp & paper, tissue, and garments.

The municipality anticipates the potential of the Makabagong Pualas as part of the Pagana for Peace and Development Festival. Correspondingly, PENREO Asmarie M. Labao hopes to collaborate and partner with the municipality as a qualified pilot beneficiary of the Forest Land Use Plan under the current Special Development Fund Implementation Project.

Labao discussed MENRE’s programs and projects in developing an ecotourism master plan for Lake Dapao. He also referred to the current interventions of BARMM-MENRE on water body classification, watershed characterization, and biodiversity assessment for Lake Dapao.

Secretary of Mindanao Development Authority (MinDA) Hon. Maria Belen S. Acosta expressed her full support to the locality, especially the conduct of scientific research for Lake Dapao, the ecotourism development master plan proposal, and other environmental projects.

Participated in the event were Deputy Brigade Commander Billy Dela Rosa, SDF Provincial Coordinator Rajiv Ramos, and MP Marjanie Macasalong. Pualas Mayor Hon. Amanoden “Tenney” Ducol commended everyone who celebrated with them and supported their vision to sustain and nurture peace in the town.