By JULMUNIR I. JANNARAL
MARAWI CITY, Lanao del Sur — The Committee on Rules of the Bangsamoro Transition Authority (BTA) Parliament held here recently a public consultation on a bill that seeks to create an agency to develop and preserve Lake Lanao.
BTA Bill No. 32 aims to establish an independent regulatory body called Ranao Development Authority (RDA) that will operate in the like of Laguna Lake Development Authority (LLDA).
Under the proposed measure, RDA will be the primary government agency responsible for coordinating, planning, managing, and implementing the development programs and resource utilization of inland waters covered by the Ranao region.
The proposed Act defines the Ranao region to encompass Lake Lanao, its shoreland, and all other lakes located within Lanao del Sur, including its cities, towns, and municipalities.
Member of the Parliament (MP) lawyer Maisarah Latiph, principal author of the proposed bill, said it is important to create an agency tasked with the primary responsibility of preserving, developing, and properly utilizing the lake to guarantee the maximum, and sustainable benefits redound to the Maranaos and the Bangsamoro community.
MP Ziaur Rahman Adiong also emphasized the need to preserve Lake Lanao, one of the world’s ancient lakes.
“Lake Lanao supplies two-thirds of the energy in the entire island of Mindanao,” added MP Latiph as she highlighted the importance of the lake in providing electricity to Mindanao.
Among the powers and functions of the RDA include the conduct of a comprehensive survey of the physical, natural resources, potentialities, and projected ecological risks of Lake Lanao; undertake various research and studies on fisheries and aquatic, waste and water quality, sedimentation, and any natural resources management of Lake Lanao; issue necessary permit or license, collect fees for the use of lake waters; establish the lake water elevation system, among others.
A comprehensive master plan that details how the lake will be managed, conserved, developed, and utilized will also be crafted.
In the proposed bill, if the Agus Hydropower Complex is privatized, the Bangsamoro government will have preferential right to acquire hydroelectric power plants within its territorial jurisdiction.
“I hope this bill will be enacted immediately so we can help together in preserving and utilizing it,” said Engr. Mangurun Bautil, plant manager of Agus 1 and 2 of the National Power Corporation (NPC).
BTA Bill No. 32 is one of the ten key legislative measures that the BTA will prioritize this year. JIJ