COTABATO CITY – A member of the Bangsamoro Transition Authority (BTA), the lawmaking body of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM), has filed a bill to develop the potentials of the Liguasan marshland in Maguindanao.
“The marsh is just there sitting untapped. It (marsh) is reportedly rich in natural gas deposits,” BTA Member Ali B. Sangki, the author of the bill, said on Thursday.
The 220,000-hectare Liguasan Marsh, the biggest wetland in the country, borders the provinces of Maguindanao, North Cotabato, and Sultan Kudarat in Central Mindanao.
Sangki filed before the BARMM parliament BTA Bill No. 82 also known as “Liguasan Marsh Management Commission (LMMC)” which seeks to provide the overall direction for the management, development, and conservation of natural and cultural resources of the marsh.
The bill, co-authored by colleagues Mudjib C. Abu and Abdullah A. Ahang, was created under Section 9, Article 13 of R.A. 11054 or the Bangsamoro Organic Law (BOL).
The particular BOL provision states that “the management and protection of natural reserves and aquatic parks, forest, watersheds and reservation and other protected areas in the territorial jurisdiction of the Bangsamoro that have already been defined by and under the authority of the National Government shall be transferred to the Bangsamoro Government”.
Once formed, the LMMC will function under the Office of BARMM Chief Minister (OCM) Ahod B. Ebrahim.
“The OCM will ensure that local communities will continue to benefit from the resources on a long-term basis, and will also formulate plans to enhance the communities,” Sangki said.
It will also operationalize a management framework delineating appropriate and viable management zones for various parts of the marsh to create an area growth center, he added.
Under the bill, the LMMC shall be composed of the Ministry of Environment, Natural Resources, and Energy (MENRE) as chairman and the provincial governor of Maguindanao as the vice-chair.
Its members will include the region’s Ministry of Finance, Budget and Management (MFBM); the Ministry of Trade, Investment and Tourism; the Ministry of Interior and Local Government; the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries, and Agrarian Reform; the Ministry of Public Works (MPW); and the director-general of the commission, among others. (PNA)