BULUAN, Maguin-danao (PNA) — Maguin-danao leaders have assured Environment Sec. Gina Lopez that they will fully support the agency’s greening program in the province.
Maguindanao Gov. Esmael Toto Mangudadatu said Thursday that local leaders, mostly mayors, vowed to support Lopez’s greening program at the Liguasan Marsh.
Lopez led on Wednesday the launching of the Sustainable Integrated Area Development (SAID) program in Buluan town, which has an allocation of PHP21 million for massive bamboo and mangrove production around the 220,000-hectare marshland.
Lopez and Kahal Kedtag, environment secretary for the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM), led the program and tree planting in nearby Pandag town, also in Maguindanao.
Mangudadatu said all the town mayors of municipalities around the marshland vowed to work for the success of the DENR program.
Lopez, who was elated by the presence of both soldiers and Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) during the launching, said “it is better we work together and not shoot each other.”
“Every time I hear news about Maguindanao, it’s about Army and MILF firefight, now I see you together…so there is hope,” she said in Filipino.
Lopez said the agency hopes to make the marshland filled with bamboo to help preserve the wetlands and prevent floods.
“This is bringing development and empowering the people to preserve the natural resources of Liguasan marsh,” she later told reporters.
Visibly delighted with the DENR program, Butch Malang, MILF representative, said his group will support the greening program because it will benefit their own people.
Lopez assured the MILF leader and the local officials that as long as guns are silent in the marshland, the DENR and the Duterte administration will provide funds for livelihood, conservation and preservation of the marshland.