Representatives from various stakeholders of the Laguna de Bay region gathered to discuss pertinent issues concerning their sectors in view of the different management options for Laguna Lake in a workshop facilitated by SESAM at the E.O. Tan Hall of DOST-PCAARRD last January 29, 2019.
In response to the government’s thrust in reviving the important resource area of Laguna Lake, the School of Environmental Science and Management (SESAM), though the Ecosystem Services and Environmental Policy (ESEP) Research Laboratory, implemented the research project titled “Assessing the Implications of Various Resource Use and Management Options in Laguna de Bay” (Project LLAMORE). With funding support from Department of Science and Technology-Philippine Council for Agriculture, Aquatic and Natural Resources Research and Development (DOST-PCAARRD) and in close partnership with the Laguna Lake Development Authority (LLDA), this project aims to bring in significant environmental and socio-economic assessment of the different resource use and management options contemplated for Laguna de Bay that could be used as technical basis for decision-making concerning the sustainable management of the lake.
As part of the project’s culminating activities, a one-day validation workshop was conducted on January 29, 2019, at the DOST-PCAARRD in Los Banos, Laguna, to present and validate the results of the study to the various stakeholders of the Laguna de Bay region. Overall, 51 participants attended the activity, including FARMC leaders of Laguna and Rizal, officers of associations of fishpen owners and operators, agricultural and environmental officers from the local governments of Muntinlupa, Binangonan, Pililla, Jalajala and Calamba, officials from LLDA, Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Research (BFAR), the National Economic Development Authority (NEDA), and scientists and academicians from PCAARRD, National Academy of Science and Technology (NAST), and UPLB.
The first part of the program consisted of messages from key project partners and presentation of study results. In his address, Dr. Reynaldo Ebora, Executive Director of PCAARRD, highlighted the need for conducting empirical studies on the complex issues of Laguna Lake to advance science-based solutions towards a more vibrant Laguna de Bay region.
On behalf of General Manager Jaime Medina, Ms. Adelina Santos-Borja of LLDA expressed their agency’s support to this undertaking and stressed the importance of regular multi-stakeholder dialogues and activities to ensure policy options for Laguna Lake will remain responsive to the needs of the basic sectors. She likewise presented an overview of the management options on Laguna Lake, mentioning the ongoing efforts on streamlining and finalizing the implementing rules and regulations of the latest revisions on the Zoning and Management Plan for Laguna de Bay.
For her part, Dr. Decibel Faustino-Eslava, Dean of SESAM, highlighted the importance of employing a holistic and interdisciplinary lens in the assessment of the multiple and conflicting uses of the critical resource of Laguna Lake. She likewise underscored the need for more collaborative activities between different stakeholders such as this workshop to improve scientific and policy aspects of Laguna de Bay through exchanging of knowledge and learnings.
After the messages from key project partners, Dr. Rico Ancog, Assistant Professor of UPLB-SESAM and Project Leader of Project LLAMORE, presented the study results beginning with the assessment of the livelihood systems and level of dependency of communities around the lake. This was followed by the results of the cost-benefit analysis on three management scenarios: the 2016 scenario or no change in management intervention; aquaculture structures limited to 10% of lake area; and lake-based tourism. Lastly, Dr. Ancog likewise the study’s assessment on the productivity and efficiency of aquaculture activities in the lake through a spatial-temporal analysis of lake aquaculture structures and a technical efficiency analysis of aquaculture operations.
In the afternoon session, the program proceeded with the workshop proper wherein participants were grouped into sectors. Overall, seven groups were formed representing the relevant sectors concerned in the sustainable management of the lake: the municipal fisherfolks; the aquaculture operators; the local government units from Rizal and Laguna; the local government units from NCR; the national government agencies; the Laguna Lake Development Authority; and the scientific and academic sector. Each group discussed and presented the positive and negative effects of the three management scenarios on their sector’s chosen priority lake uses. Likewise, recommendations for policy actions to enhance the positive effects or control the negative effects were also solicited and shared.
The program ended with a synthesis and closing remarks from Dr. Alice Joan Ferrer, Professor of UP Visayas and Project Staff of Project LLAMORE, where she emphasized the importance of multi-sectoral collaboration and dialogue in forwarding an effective and sustainable management of the complex issue of Laguna de Bay.
Overall, insights gathered from the workshop served as critical input to the project and shall be integrated with the initial results of the study in the formulation of policy recommendations towards a more sustainable resource use and management of Laguna Lake.
Together with Dr. Ancog and Dr. Ferrer, the workshop was also conducted with the other members of the research team, which include Dr. Ma. Victoria Ortega-Espaldon of Professor, UPLB-SESAM, Mr. Vince Escarcha, Ms. Jochelle Abello, and Mr. Edizon Avila of UPLB-SESAM ESEP Research Laboratory, Ms. Veronica Castillo of UPLB College of Economics and Management and For. Arnan Araza from the Wageningen University and Research (Vince Escarcha/SESAM ESEP Lab).