Paoay Lake is locally called dakkel danum. What makes Paoay Lake Legendary? It is because of the interesting and enchanting history narrated by forefathers and passed upon to the present , including the other stories or observations that happened in the lake narrated by te residents nearby.
According to such legendary account, Paoay Lake was formed as a punishment to the early settlers thereat who used to be immensely religious but turned wicked and preoccupied by material things later. Their wicked acts earned the ire of their gods, thus submerged the place , turning it into a body of water, while the people were made into fishes with their fancy adornments, such as jewelries, still attached with them. These stories say that, seated in Paoay Lake’s location was a group of three villages called Gumura, Siduma and Sintapuli. The first two villages were much like those communities, Sodom and Gumorrah, which according to the Holy Bible, were submerged in water as a form of punishment by God to the People who turned wicked.
Other sources suggest that the lake was a result of gigantic geological displacement that hit the Ilocos area in January 1641. A shattering earthquake preceded by loud thunders and lightning, swallowed down the place, then burst back into the sky, thus left a body of water. Later studies theorized that Paoay Lake was formed geologically as a result of formation of the earth’s crust during the Miocene Epoch 2 million years ago.
Paoay Lake is surrounded by the five barangays of Paoay: Suba in the north, Nanguyudan and Pasil in the east, Sungadan in the south, and Nagbacalan in the west. The Paoay Lake Protected Landscape has an area of 386.0 hectares.
PAST DEVELOPMENT ACTIVITIES
- On June 21, 1969, Republic Act (RA) 5631 was enacted, An Act DECLARING PAOAY LAKE AS A NATIONAL PARK. The national park covers the lake and all lands within 1.0 kilometer from its extremities.
- In 1976, the Paoay Lake Development Project was launched by the Ministry of Natural Resources. Its Bureau of Forest Development was tasked to reforest the area, while the Bureau of Fisheries & Aquatic Resources stocked hundreds of thousands of fish fingerlings, and the Bureau of Lands undertook resettlement component.
- On April 5, 1977, the then President Marcos issued Letter of Instruction (LOI) 529, directing further park development and upgrading of the sites and services. Hence, Paoay Lake Development Projects an inter-agency efforts of more than twenty (20) local and national offices.
- On June 11, 1978, President Marcos issued Presidential Decree (PD)1554, amending RA 5631, redefining the national park limits to exclude 1.0 kilometer portions of land to make them alienable. Thus, the modified park limits was the highest water level.
- In 1978, the Malacañang ti Amianan was constructed. It is a Spanish-type building overlooking the lake, and served as official residence of the President while in Ilocos Provinces. The Maharlika Hall at the northwestern side followed, and te Paoay Lake Sports Complex which is a package of a golf course and other allied sports facilities and grounds.
- On February 6, 1992, RA 7568 was enacted, the National Integrated Protected Area System (NIPAS). Paoay Lake, an existing national park became an initial component of NIPAS. Accordingly, its policy making body, the Protected Area Management Board (PAMB) was organized. The Board comprises of the Provincial Government, Municipal Government, Barangay Chairmen of the surrounding Barangays, National Irrigation Administration, Department of Agriculture/Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources and Non- Government Organization. The Board or the Law Making Body sees the welfare of the Protected area since then through the conduct of quarterly and emergency meetings as needed.
- In 1994, the Paoay Lake PAMB, in cooperation with the local government unit, initiated a Livelihood Component-the establishment of fish cages by the communities around who were mostly fishermen. A 10.0 hectare portion of the lake was set aside, at two hectares each of the five barangays surrounding the lake. It was sustained since then, which in fact increased the income of families thereat, and made Paoay as the regarded tilapia capital of Ilocos Norte. By the Year 2011 the Provincial Government visioned that the lake is more beneficial when the lake is not structured by fish cages hence open fishing shall be implemented to the constituents of Paoay thus eco tourism shall be promoted. Employment generation shall also be encouraged in the area in producing products to attract tourists ie. Woven products, chichacorn, dried fish and the like. Other attractions shall be put thereat to invite more tourists in the site.
- In 1977, the Municipal Government attempted an ambitious project. To make Paoay Lakeas the Vegetable Bowl of Paoay. It is because of the fertile soils, its topography, available water support from the lake, and accessible roads for marketing aspect. Under the Seedling Distribution Program of the Municipality and the Bureau of Forest Development, Planting of fruit trees and forest trees were concentrated in the area. The Protected area todate is actively participating the National Greening Program through social mobilization together with other government agencies.
- In 1998, the Local Government Unit organized farmers association so as to have a good close coordination with them regarding farming in the area with them regarding farming in the area, including regulated use of pesticide or insecticide that may affect the lake. In the later part of 1999 to 2000 their irrigation canals drawing waters from the lake were improved so as prevent wastage or unregulated use.
- Recently, all existing programs instituted were sustained and maintained component programs and responsibilities of the lead agencies. The DENR, were in place, with the LGU as its partner. Since then, Paoay Lake is the regular entry of the LGU in the Search for the Cleanest Inland Bodies of Water. The maintenance and protection of the National Park /Protected area is implementedprogrammed by the DENR annually.
- 1.PHYSICAL CONDITIONS
A ) MINERAL AND GARBAGE DEPOSITS
The lake area is characterized of interbedded sandstone and silty shale with limestone. Sand dunes and sandstones and sale are the rock components. Also available minerals are dental quartz and magnetite. There is no known waste or garbage deposits inside or beneath the lake that are threats to its resources and water quality.
B) SURFACE AND FLOATING DEBRIS
There is no surface and floating debris in the lake, except during and after typhoons. However, cleaning activities are being done according by park personnel and residents
Aquatic plants can be seen along the shallow and muddy portions of the littoral zone, which include buntot pusa , water hyacinth, water lettuce, kangkong, tape grass and water lily. On the other hand, the forest cover is manmade through reforestation works. The dominant species are giant ipil-ipil, acacia, mahogany, narra, banaba, teak, tibbig, bitaog, gmelina, bangkal and camachile. The presence of rooted submerged aquatic plants like lotus, aragan and other aquatic plants are abundant which serves as the prey of the fishes and other marine species.
D) WATER ERSOURCES AND QUALITY
The lake is a natural body of fresh water without tributary. It has a depth of about six (6.0) meters. The water source is from ground water flow and surface run-off from its surrounding hills. Critical water level is, so far, the only known factor that affects its water quality. As temperature increases, the water level decreases, thereby affecting the aquatic organisms. Water quality test is done periodically on a quarterly basis.
Ilocos Norte Water District (INWD) applied for the installation of water micro filtration machine in the lake purposely to serve the people of Paoay, Ilocos Norte. It was recommended by the Provincial Government through the leadership of Hon. Imee R. Marcos and it started operating Year 2013 and really benefited the residents of Paoay, Ilocos Norte.
By: Nora Ibana/CENRO Laoag City
Photos: Jun Millano
Area development, subsidiarity and federalism
Area development, subsidiarity and federalism
TIMES of crisis are windows for great opportunity. That is an old Chinese saying. But in these troubling times (for many), what opportunities indeed lie ahead? There are quite a few and the promising thing is they seem to be opportunities that would open up given current trajectories or the way things are unfolding. Indeed, 2017 may be the year that developmental change finally proceeds.
The world is shifting away from the international policies of recent decades that, while they have created well-being for unprecedented billions of people, have likewise resulted in great tensions. Not just tensions between peoples but tensions between people and their environment and even tensions inside people due to an identity overly linked to consumerism rather than their inherent truths; consumerism that threatens the very sustainability of Mother Earth.
One such opportunity is the re-emergence within government of the area development paradigm or development framework under Environment and Natural Resources Secretary Gina Lopez. While Sixto K. Roxas was its initial advocate in the late 1960s it had unfortunately been bastardized in several big government projects that went puff! (just as the autonomous regional experience is going puff!) due to wrongful implementation, which in turn was due to a misunderstanding of what area, development is basically about.
With Secretary Gina at the helm of a major government department that has a direct and meaningful role in national development, the area development paradigm is set to take off and this time under the leadership of a capable and knowledgeable environment and natural resources secretary. For one, Secretary Gina has been a practitioner of area development approaching the various undertakings of the ABS-CBN Foundation in Palawan and other provinces wherein the local people were the implementers and the beneficiaries of the eco-tourism projects that simply highlighted the potential of their area (thus the term area development).
Secretary Gina knows that with the Philippines’ archipelagic territory, the mountain ridge ecosystem connects by streams, creeks, rivers to the various other ecosystems until the final one (within our territory), the coral reef ecosystem, the totality of which was once teeming with life. “Life in all its fullness” was certainly what the Philippines was (before the times of colonization and industrialization. But alas, development was under the unitary and sectoral paradigm).
Area development deepens this understanding of the fragile but critical relationships between and among interconnected ecosystems and working with the local people applies the principle of subsidiarity which states that functions and decision-making should be undertaken at the lowest possible hierarchical level and the role of the higher organizational level is to support those lower units undertaking the functions.
As Secretary Gina says, “area development is about nurturing and helping the local people nurture their local areas to unleash [their]productive potential”. This means making development based on the potentialities of the area. This is the better opposite to what has been going on since the Philippines became a country under colonial masters where the desires of the corporations were simply imposed on local areas that suited their businesses. And since business was all that mattered, they generally left the place worse off and, in many instances killing off the ecosystem that the locals could have relied on for sustenance. The zenith of this “devil may care” attitude seems to be the guiding principle of many large mines that decimate the geological and hydrological functions of the ecosystem leaving the locals in perpetual risk and scamming the Filipino people by leaving behind a permanent pit hole of humongous dimensions. It wouldn’t be surprising if the economic tab left behind by derelict mines long abandoned by mining companies that have been in turn abandoned by their shareholders are simply dumped on you and me, the taxpayers. Secretary Gina calls this “madness”.
Under the principle of subsidiarity, it is government’s role to assist local people co-create local sustainable economies based on the perpetual beneficial use of the local ecosystem bounties for even distant future generations. Thus, the shift towards federalism is timely in that area development and subsidiarity are wholly compatible with federalism. In fact, they are necessary complements to genuine federalism. Where unitarism (our present centralized system) brought us corporate-led sectoral and highly inequitable development, federalism should usher in community-based, ecosystem-sensitive area development that gives everyone who wants a chance to participate in the local economy that opportunity.
Thus, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) is leading the way by selecting 29 priority areas to demonstrate area development and is enlisting the help of the Sixto K. Roxas Foundation that targets poverty eradication by creating the template of an expanded local social accounting matrix of the value-adding power of the local sectors and how incomes are distributed (or not distributed locally but remitted out of the local area). Secretary Gina wants all programs of the DENR like the National Greening Program, Bamboo Program, Biochar Program, Mangrove Rehabilitation Programs, and Mining Programs to be re-crafted along the principles of area development with its concrete manifestation of viable community enterprises that are networked to build up to scale and demonstrate the opposite of “trickle-down” (pinatulo) towards the alternative of “nurturing upwards,” or pinatubo.
President Duterte seems to be instinctively aware that the ideological lines are not anymore between the “left vs. the right,” the old Cold War mentality of these old ideologies (that ironically are united in their pinatulo paradigm as both ideologies rely on trickle-down sectors to benefit the locals) but between the primacy of nurturing people and ecosystems versus sectoral corporations (that have grown so large, moneyed and powerful), or in other words “pinatulo” vs. “pinatubo”. Thus, the push for federalism as a government organizational set-up where now, finally, area development can be its favored bride guided by the vow of subsidiarity.
The author, a co-convenor of the Subsidiarity Movement International and the Federalist Forum of the Philippines, advocates for the bottom-up development model as well as proper decentralization, and the strengthening of regional governance. He served for 12 years in the Regional Development Council of Central Luzon as chair of the economic committee. He was a consultant for the Philippine Alternative Fuels Corp. (PAFC) and was on the board of trustees of the HARIBON Foundation. He is currently a member of the board of advisors of CDPI.