GANASSI, Lanao del Sur — An initial assessment of Mount Baya in Ganassi, Lanao del Sur was conducted by the Environment Ministry’s Biodiversity, Ecosystems, Research, and Development Services (BERDS) and the Community ENRE Office of Lanao del Sur 2nd District to identify potential components that would be helpful in related endeavors, such as the execution of the Protected Area Suitability Assessment (PASA).

Mount Baya is a dormant volcano in Ganassi in the said province. The mountain has a peak elevation of 1,484 meters rising from a plateau of about 950 meters. It is located around 4 kilometers east of Lake Dapao and 4.5 kilometers southwest of Lake Lanao. As the team of BERDS climbed the mountain, they observed the presence of Dipterocarp spp, wild mushroom, ratan spp, and bamboo. According to the locals, the species of Philippine deer and wild pig also exist in the habitat.

“Activities such as this are significant in the BARMM, especially that we are beginning to develop an inventory and assessment of wildlife and habitat in the Bangsamoro region for research purposes and to craft our appropriate actions to ensure their protection and conservation,” BERDS Director Mohamad Ali R. Dimaren said.

Following the assessment of Mount Baya, the team, together with CENREO 2B led by CENRE Officer Benjamin D. Alangca, also went around the periphery of Lake Dapao. The team observed that the Lake Dapao is still surrounded by vegetations. In the northern part facing the lake, there are also areas occupied by locals. Among the beneficial uses of the lake and its natural resources, locals rely on the water body as their source of livelihood and food, particularly through fishing. It is important to emphasize, above all, that Lake Dapao is necessary to be protected and sustainably managed as well.