Survey of ARMM municipal, provincial territories up PDF Print E-mail
Friday, 19 July 2013 11:09

A costly cadastral survey of the territories of provinces and towns in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao will start after the Ramadhan, seen to boost efforts of locating resource-rich areas to be grouped together under the proposed Bangsamoro political entity.

The ARMM’s natural resources secretary, Kahal Kedtag, said 14 contracts for the survey projects, initially costing P50 million, for Maguindanao and Basilan, have so far been wrapped up and more are to be completely processed after the Ramadhan season.

The Islamic Ramadhan, where Muslims fast from dawn to dusk for one lunar cycle, is to end second week of August, depending on the sighting of the new moon.

He said the bidding process was done in utmost transparency, under the watch of the media community in Central Mindanao.

Kedtag said the survey project is focused on towns with disputed borders and those located along the boundaries of the autonomous region and municipalities in administrative regions.

“This is a very important project, extensive, realistic and something that has never been done before,” Kedtag said.

Kedtag said the project, although an independent initiative of ARMM and Malacañang, can effectively complement the efforts of the government and Moro Islamic Liberation Front in assessing the political, administrative and territorial grids of Moro-dominated towns known to have vast resources that can generate income for the proposed Bangsamoro political entity.

Among the ARMM towns to be included in the cadastral surveys are those located along the Maguindanao portion of the vast 220,000-hectare Liguasan Marsh, Asia’s largest and known to have vast deposits of oil, natural gas and a natural habitat of endemic fish and bird species.

Some of the Lanao del Sur towns to be surveyed are located around the forested watersheds of the majestic Lake Lanao, which has a 340-square-kilometer surface, and whose downstream gush into the Iligan Bay in Lanao del Norte propels hydroelectric plants that supply about three-fourths of Mindanao’s daily power needs.

ARMM Gov. Hataman, who has ministerial control over Kedtag’s office, said they are grateful to the central office of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources for its extensive support to the survey project.

Functions of the DENR were devolved to the ARMM after the ratification of the region’s first charter, the Republic Act 6734 in 1990, which declared Maguindanao and Lanao del Sur, both in Central Mindanao, and the island provinces of Sulu and Tawi-Tawi, as component-provinces of the autonomous region.

The ARMM’s pioneering charter got amended as R.A. 9054 in another plebisicite in 2001, resulting to the fusion of Basilan and the cities of Marawi and Lamitan to the autonomous region.

Kedtag and Hataman both said they are to tap local MILF commanders, in coordination with the joint ceasefire committee, to help ensure the safety of private surveyors involved in the projects.

The outcome of the surveys will also provide stakeholders to the GPH-MILF talks, including the two panels, enough information on the so-called alienable and disposable lands in the acknowledged domains of Moro and ARMM’s indigenous non-Moro communities.