Davao dad bats for Lake Venado temporary closure

Jun. 29, 2009

DAVAO CITY — A Davao City councilor is urging the environment department to close Lake Venado to climbers and tourists for a period of three to five years to allow for the lake’s rehabilitation.

First district councilor Leo Avila witnessed firsthand last month the huge amount of trash that has engulfed the lake when he climbed Mt. Apo. Lake Venado is in the province of North Cotabato at the foot of the country’s highest peak.

During the City Council session last June 16, Avila presented a resolution asking the Department of Environment and Natural Resources-Protected Areas Management Board (DENR-PAMB) to close it off. He said rehab plans would entail taking out the trash and dredging the lake for garbage. He estimates a budget of 20 million pesos would be needed to carry out the rehabilitation.

Lake Venado is a endorheic basin. This means it retains water and allows no outflow to other bodies of water such as rivers or oceans. That is why garbage that is thrown in or drains to the lake stays in the lake. The lake is a favorite camping ground for climbers en route to and coming down from the peak of Mount Apo.

Avila plans to show to the council videos that he took so they can see how bad the human-caused pollution is. He says he is just editing the video to sanitize it. “Its just so dirty; not just trash, but waste — human waste,” Avila says.

Avila expects opposition from different local government units that encompass Mt Apo. However, he says the proposal is a little sacrifice for a good purpose. Avila says rehabilitating the lake would make it a prime eco-tourism destination.

Lake Venado is named after the Spanish word ‘venado’, which means ‘deer’ because of its deer-like shape. People living in the area called the Lake Linaw. Linaw is the Cebuano term for clear, referring to the crystal-clear water of the lake, reflecting the peak of Mount Apo. (PIA)

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