BULUAN, Maguindanao – Department of Environment and Natural Resources Secretary Regina Lopez on Wednesday vows to address the environmental issues as well as providing livelihood to the Bangsamoro peoples living in the Ligawasan Marsh.
This developed as local government officials presented to Lopez how forest denudation in the highlands affected the low-lying areas around the marsh.
Among the initial efforts to address the issue, is the development of a bamboo plantation in the area, Lopez pointed out.
As an initial move, the DENR will release P21 million for the putting up of a bamboo nursery in Raja Buayan town.
This year, the local government will put up at least a hectare of bamboo nursery. And in the next three years, it aims to plant 1300 hectares of bamboo.
Rajah Buayan town Mayor Zamzamin Ampatuan said: “We wanted to make our town a bamboo capital in the next six years.”
Lopez also assured other local government units that the same project will soon rise in other towns.
Meanwhile, the secretary was also delighted to meet MILF members, who were led by CCCH head Butch Malang and Bangsamoro Development Agency (BDA) Executive Director Mohammad Suaib Ya’cob.
In fact, Lopez was able to bring the MILF representatives to the stage along with military officials to share some light.
“You don’t have guns anymore? You’re good guys!”, the delighted secretary told the MILF members in front of the crowd.
In his response, Malang told the crowd that he too, was delighted by the effort of the DENR under Secretary Lopez, saying that Ligawasan Marsh is a crucial part of the Bangsamoro homeland.
The latest development, he said is a manifestation of a looming development in the area. “I hope this will continue and I’m praying for it to succeed.”
“Just no more fighting. We will surely help you,” Lopez responded.