Cotabato City—More than 400 former Moro combatants will work as forest guards, side by side with their families, to grow trees in a bid to expand the government’s greening program in areas of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao.
BARMM Environment, Natural Resources and Energy Minister Al Mansoor Macacua said the regional government has earmarked P300 million for the Bangsamoro Regional Greening Program, which started in Maguindanao.
Macacua said the project took off from the erstwhile 10-year government program to help improve on the country’s forest cover rate, which has dwindled over years of exploitation.
Meanwhile, Macacua said he was assuming the post as concurrent BARMM executive secretary, “on a mandate of the appointment granted by Bangsamoro Chief Minister Hadji Murad Ebrahim.”
National officials have noted the BARMM has been on a “good start,” as shown by the region’s latest performance in the 2019 Seal of Good Local Governance in Manila on Nov. 5.
BARMM topped Mindanao regions and landed fifth overall in the country in terms of compliance to determinants of good governance in rated municipal and provincial levels.
Regional Interior and Local Government Minister Naguib Sinarimbo said: “[It] was a good harvest for the Bangsamoro Government in the area of good local governance in the region. Twenty-eight LGUs were conferred with the prestigious Seal of Good Local Governance.”
Ebrahim had earlier revamped his Cabinet, appointing BARMM Finance and Budget Minister Eduard Guerra as caretaker for the Ministry of Public Works, where he replaced Macacua.
Macacua said the BARMM Greening Program is seen to widen the region’s forest cover, which had increased to 70 percent in 2016, according to transition reports audit from the defunct Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao.
He said the BARMM leadership has also nominated its members to a bilateral intergovernmental relations group in charge of a joint-management panel for the exploration and eventual extraction of natural gas in the Ligawasan Marsh.
Sinarimbo said the Bangsamoro government may opt for “waqaf” (trust fund) development as the nucleus of its part in managing the exploration, development and proceeds from the extraction.
A sustained management design for a waqaf will ensure that the future generation will have its fair share of the fruits of development in the Bangsamoro, Sinarimbo said.
During recent meetings in Malacanang, the BARMM officials said President had given the regional government the green light to undertake appropriate development initiatives on the Ligawasan Marsh.