By JULMUNIR I. JANNARAL
COTABATO CITY — To preserve and develop Bangsamoro cultural heritage sites, lawmakers in the region are pushing to declare the tomb of Sultan Sharieful Hashim in Indanan, Sulu, founder of the Sulu Sultanate, and the Kutawato Cave in Cotabato City, as historical heritage sites and ecotourism destinations.
The proposed measures are contained in Bangsamoro Transition Authority (BTA) Bill Nos. 173 and 174 filed in the Parliament last Feb. 23.
Member of the Parliament (MP) Don Mustapha Loong, principal author of the proposed acts, on Thursday said that BTA Bill No. 173 “will enhance and promote Tausug culture and will contribute to the prestige of Sulu as the cradle of Bangsamoro government.”
In the proposed measures, the Ministry of Trade, Industry, and Tourism (MTIT) and the Bangsamoro Commission for the Preservation of Cultural Heritage (BCPCH) will spearhead the conservation of the two historical sites.
They will also prepare a historical heritage site conservation, development, and promotion plan as well as an ecotourism plan that includes the rehabilitation, construction, installation, beautification, and maintenance of the facilities and structure.
Sultan Hashim founded the Sultanate of Sulu, introduced Islamic political institutions, and made Islam the state religion.
“It is only befitting that we take steps to promote his invaluable contribution to our political consciousness and aspiration by preserving, conserving, and developing his tomb to serve as a constant reminder of our origin and illustrious past,” he added.
Meanwhile, Parliament Bill No. 174, according to MP Loong, “is among our small steps to preserve our history, culture, and heritage.”
In the explanatory note of the proposed bill, Kutawato Cave became the refuge of the Moros to avoid forcible conversion to Christianity during the Spanish regime.
“It behooves on us that we take steps to protect and preserve this monument as a source of our pride and part of our history of struggle,” he ended.
Section 24 of Article 9 of the Bangsamoro Organic Law mandates the Bangsamoro Government to preserve the history, culture, arts, traditions, and rich cultural heritage of the Bangsamoro people and their Sultanates non-Moro indigenous peoples of the region. (JIJ)