BTA member files Liguasan Marsh Commission bill

Published March 26, 2021, 3:04 PM

by Zea Capistrano

DAVAO CITY – A member of parliament in the Bangsamoro Transition Authority (BTA) has filed a bill creating a commission which will manage, develop, and conserve the natural and cultural resources within the 220,000-hectare Liguasan Marsh.

A statement from the Bangsamoro Information Office last March 24 said MP Ali B. Sangki filed BTA Parliament Bill No. 82, also known as the Liguasan Marsh Management Commission or LigMarsh Act of 2021, last March 16.

The proposed Liguasan Marsh Management Commission shall be under the Office of the Chief Minister (OCM). The proposed creation of the commission is pursuant to Section 9, Article 13 of Republic Act (RA) No. 11054 or the Bangsamoro Organic Law which 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.”

The commission is tasked to ensure the formulation of plans in the management of the resources and ensure the long-term benefit for local communities.

The bill also provides for the creation of “an Area Growth Center within the vicinity of the Marsh that will host various economic enterprises, livelihood support-infrastructure, socio-cultural development interventions with matching enabling policies to benefit the former combatants and indigenous communities. It shall develop strategies and measures to promote the economic and eco-tourism potentials of the area to attract investment.”

The commission will be composed of the Ministry of Environment, Natural Resources, and Energy (MENRE) as chairman and the provincial governor of Maguindanao as vice chairman.

“Its members will include the Ministry of Finance, Budget, and Management (MFBM), Ministry of Trade, Investment, and Tourism (MTIT), Ministry of Interior and Local Government (MILG), Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries, and Agrarian Reform (MAFAR), Ministry of Public Works (MPW), the Director General of the Commission, one (1) representative from the Environment Advocate Organization, and one (1) representative from the Liguasan Marsh private local community stakeholders,” the statement said.

Early this year, the Philippine National Oil Company-Exploration Corp. (PNOC-EC) expressed its interest in re-assessing the potential of Liguasan Marsh for oil and gas deposits.