COTABATO CITY – Legislators from the Bangsamoro Transition Authority (BTA) have called on the Senate of the Philippines to consider the provisions of Republic Act No. 11054 or the Bangsamoro Organic Law (BOL) before legislating the Lake Lanao Development Authority.
Through Proposed Resolution No. 416, the BTA is respectfully asking the Senate Committee on Government Corporations and Public Enterprises to “give due consideration to the provisions of RA No. 11054 concerning the right of the BARMM government over the management of inland waters, in light of the pendency of Senate Bills No. 90, 389, and 1015 seeking to create a Lake Lanao Development Authority.”
SB No. 90, 389, and 1015 are authored by Senators Richard Gordon, Emmanuel “Manny” Pacquiao, and Ronald “Bato” Dela Rosa, respectively.
Located in Lanao del Sur province, Lake Lanao is the largest freshwater lake in Mindanao and second largest in the Philippines. It is one of the 15 ancient lakes in the world.
The lake has five watersheds with rivers and major tributaries totaling to 431 kilometers. The waters drain and go through the only outlet that is the Agus River – where six hydroelectric plants are installed, generating around 40% electric power for Mindanao.
Under Article III, Section 3 of the BOL, it states that “all inland waters such as lakes, rivers, river systems, and streams within its territorial jurisdiction shall form part of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region inland waters. The preservation and management of the inland waters shall be under the Bangsamoro Government as provided for in Section 22, Article XIII of this Organic Law.”
Article XIII, Section 22 provides that the Bangsamoro Government shall have exclusive powers over inland waters, including lakes, marshes, rivers, and tributaries within its territorial jurisdiction, except those that provide energy to power generating plants. The Parliament shall enact laws on regulation, conservation, management, and protection of these resources, and may classify inland waters in the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region. It shall create a Bangsamoro Authority and offices for specific inland bodies of water that shall exercise management and regulatory powers over these bodies of water.
Moreover, Article XIII, Section 9 of the law provides that “the management and protection of nature reserves and aquatic parks, forests, watershed reservations, and other protected areas in the territorial jurisdiction of the Bangsamoro that have already been defined by under the authority of the National Government shall be transferred to the Bangsamoro Government.”
PR No. 446 was introduced by Member of Parliament (MP) Maisara Damdamun-Latiph during the BTA’s plenary session last week, March 23.
Several MPs have manifested their intent to be co-authors of the PR such as Eddie Alih, Jose Lorena, Saffrullah Dipatuan, Musa Diamla, Majority Floor Leader Lanang Ali Jr., and Deputy Speakers Ziaur-Rahman Adiong, Omar Yasser Sema, and Nabil Tan.
On the other hand, MP Musa Diamla on March 24 introduced Resolution No. 414 which asks President Rodrigo Duterte to “issue a proclamation declaring Lake Lanao as a protected area and providing funds therefor to BARMM to continue or to undertake programs, projects, activities for the protection and preservation of the lake and its immediate environs.” (Bangsamoro Information Office)