The key biodiversity area Lake Manguao (also Lake Danao) in the municipality of Taytay, northern Palawan. (Photo by CARFormoso)

The Lake Manguao reforestation project of the Development Bank of the Philippines (DBP) with the provincial government of Palawan has started to rebuild habitats for important wildlife species and deal with water usage and availability in Taytay town.

Dr. Myrna Lacanilao, program manager of the Provincial Economic Enterprise and Development Office (PEEDO), said over 38,000 teakwood and mahogany tree seedlings had already been planted in 22 hectares of land around Lake Manguao (also Lake Danao).

Called the “DBP Forest Project”, Lacanilao said it targets to reforest 200 hectares.

“Nasimulan na natin ang pagtatanim noong November last year. We covered 22 hectares land area na pero ngayon huminto muna dahil sa sobrang init, but hopefully matataniman natin lahat ‘yan,” she said.

Lacanilao said they still have around 1,000 seedlings in their tree nursery in Taytay.

“Marami tayong seedlings doon — mahogany at teak tree. Pinili ‘yan kasi malaki ang mga ugat to hold water. Kaya maganda ito sa mga water project natin. Isa pa, kapag lumaki na ‘yan puwede naman putulin at ibenta then tataniman ulit,” she added.

Lake Manguao is one of the largest undisturbed lakes in the Philippines with 621 hectares water surface and 4,425 catchment area.

In 2014, a wetland study of Lake Manguao as a special co-management area for eco-tourism in the province by Benjamin J. Gonzales and Joie D. Matillano, said it was identified as one of the “Key Biodiversity Areas for its global significance on biodiversity conservation.”

“As the largest lake in mainland Palawan, Lake Manguao is a natural heritage not only for the people of Taytay but for the entire province in general,” their study said.

Earlier, the Palawan Provincial Board (PB) approved a resolution requesting the DBP and Governor Jose Alvarez to include fruit-bearing trees in the continuation of the tree planting project in the lake.

The project includes the planting and cultivation of high-value trees and plants.

Board Member Roseller Pineda said the fruit-bearing trees can contribute to the food security of the community surrounding Lake Manguao.

“Naisip natin na magiging produktibo and puwede maging means of livelihood to the people living around the lake. It is an appeal for them to consider na magkaroon ng fruit-bearing trees na kasama doon sa kanilang tree planting program,” Pineda said.

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is the chief of correspondents of Palawan News. She covers defense, politics, tourism, health, and sports stories. She loves to travel and explore different foods.