KORONADAL CITY (MindaNews/ 22 September)– The World Bank has released an additional P7.32 million assistance to five municipalities in Maguindanao and North Cotabato provinces to facilitate the implementation of an ongoing rehabilitation project for the critical Ligawasan Marsh.
Forester Iskak Dipatuan, manager of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR)-led Ligawasan Marsh Biodiversity Conservation Project (LMBCP), said the funds would be utilized for the maintenance of a tree plantation project of indigenous species covering a combined 796 hectares (ha) of the marsh area.
He said such amount represents the full and final tranche of the maintenance fund for the tree plantation, which was implemented under the National Program Support to Environment and Natural Resources Management Project.
The World Bank, through the Global Environment Facility program, funds the program, he said.
“The DENR-12 mainly moved for the speedy release of the funds,” Dipatuan said in a statement.
He said the World Bank, through the Municipal Development Fund Office (MDFO) in Manila, directly released the funds to the accounts of the five local governments.
The municipalities of Kabacan and Tulunan in North Cotabato received P1.192 million and P765,000, respectively.
Kabacan has juridiction over 125 ha of the tree plantation area while Tulunan maintains around 60 ha.
In Maguindanao, the recipients were Paglat town with P1.638 million, Datu Piang with P1.785 million and Sultan sa Barongis with P1.943 million.
Paglat accounts for 257 ha of the tree plantation while Datu Piang and Sultan sa Barongis have 140 and 214 ha, respectively.
Dipatuan said DENR-12 acting regional director Adeluisa Siapno gave the go signal last week to the five local governments to pay the people’s organizations that maintain the tree plantations in compliance with World Bank’s documentary requirements and the agency’s accounting and auditing rules and regulations.
The DENR-12 mainly provides technical support and monitors the project’s implementation through its composite inspectorate and validation team.
The Ligawasan Marsh is one of the largest wetlands in the country, comprising about 10 percent of the Mindanao River Basin.
It is composed of three marshes — Ligawasan proper, Libungan and Ebpanan — and is regarded as an important wetland habitat of many water bird species. (Allen V. Estabillo/MindaNews)