4 Ligawasan Marsh towns to benefit from productivity enhancement

NEDA-KR2 PEP is a small-scale community-based environmental rehabilitation and conservation program where NEDA, through its partner NGO, the Muslim Development Foundation Inc. (MDFI), will be implementing projects in support of environmental conservation and rehabilitation of Ligawasan Marsh. Approximately 55,000 hectares of the marsh are within the boundaries of North Cotabato.

GovernorJesus N. Sacdalan recently met with NEDA Regional Director Ma. Lourdes D. Lim who said the project will cover community-based mangrove rehabilitation, coastal resource management, sanctuaries preservation and development, and community-based replanting projects.

MDFI Director Dausay Daulog said their target is to develop at least 40 hectares of community forest, set up a kilometer of bank protection, and plant two hectares of freshwater mangroves and other indigenous flora in each of the four towns of  Pikit, Kabacan, M’lang and Tulunan where environmental degradation has been noted such as deforestation, pollution, siltation, flooding, conversion to agriculture, and destructive fishing practices. The project also seeks to help improve the economic situation of the communities involved.
“About 70% of the people in these areas are poor, surviving on P3,000.00 monthly income or less,” Daulog said.

Beneficiary communities of the project include the barangays of Galidan, Popoyon, Dungos and Tambac in Tulunan; Gaunan, Dugong, Dungguan and New Antique in Mlang; Malamote, Cuyapos, Magatus, and Kilagasan in Kabacan. Beneficiary communities in Pikit still have to be identified as the municipality is a recent addition to the project following the request of Sacdalan.

Sacdalan urged NEDA and the MDFI to adopt a more comprehensive approach to ensure the sustainability of environmental and development interventions in Ligawasan Marsh.

“Livelihood and other projects that would ensure the economic security of the beneficiaries should be considered. Otherwise, the community forests might again be compromised, “ he said.
“The question of security of tenure should also be addressed. The people in the communities at the periphery of Ligawasan should have the assurance that they cannot just be eased out of the lands they presently occupy and till. This is best done by titling the lands to them, individually or collectively,” he added. (Williamor A. Magbanua/MindaNews)