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River docks to hasten delivery of fishes from Ligawasan Delta to markets up soon

John Unson - Philstar.com
River docks to hasten delivery of fishes from Ligawasan Delta to markets up soon
The 220,000-hectare Ligawasan Delta in Central Mindanao is the region's main source of fresh water fishes and where former secessionist Moro rebels are now thriving peacefully, relying mainly on fishing as means of livelihood.
Photo courtesy of Philstar.com / John Unson

COTABATO CITY — The Bangsamoro government has embarked on two costly river dock projects to boost the connectivity of thousands of former Moro guerillas fishing in the 220,000-hectare Ligawasan Delta to markets in Cotabato City and in provinces around.

The Ligawasan Delta, which is Central Mindanao’s primary source of fresh water fishes, is surrounded by the neighboring Sultan Kudarat and Cotabato provinces in Region 12, Maguindanao del Norte and Maguindanao del Sur in the Bangsamoro region and is also near the southeastern side of Cotabato City.

Radio reports on Tuesday stated that the office of Bangsamoro Transportation and Communications Minister Paisalin Pangandaman Tago contracted last week two construction firms to put up the separate facilities, one in Barangay Gambar in Kabuntalan in Maguindanao del Norte, costing P18.5 million, and the other, worth P18.4 million, in the Libungan Toreta area in Pigcawayan, Cotabato.

Tago told reporters via text message on Tuesday that the two projects shall be bankrolled by allocations from the Special Development Fund of his office.

Tago, an accountant-lawyer, is concurrent member of the 80-seat parliament of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, where there are pending bills, authored by economist lawmakers, meant to improve commerce and trade in BARMM.

Local executives in the adjoining Pigcawayan and Midsayap towns in Cotabato, which is under Administrative Region 12 but have more than a dozen Bangsamoro barangays each, said on Tuesday that the construction of a river watercraft landing facility in the Libungan Toreta area will hasten the transport by Moro fishermen in the Ligawasan Delta of their daily catch to markets in the province.

“While the town center of Midsayap is not too near the Libungan Toreta area, the impact of that project shall be felt in Midsayap barangays that are near Pigcawayan,” Mayor Rolly Sacdalan of Midsayap, touted as the most progressive municipality in the first district of Cotabato, said.

Monib Laguiam, an ethnic Maguindanon fish trader in Pigcawayan, said that it will be easier for them to secure adequate supply of fresh water fishes from the Ligawasan Delta that they can peddle around via the river landing facility that the Ministry of Transportation and Communications-BARMM is to put up in the Libungan Toreta area.

The river dock that the MoTC-BARMM will put up in Barangay Gambar in Kabuntalan is near the markets in Datu Odin Sinsuat town, also in Maguindanao del Norte, and in this city.

“These are the kind of infrastructures we need to make the investment potentials of the Bangsamoro barangays soar high,” the chairman of the Bangsamoro Business Council, the entrepreneur Ronald Hallid Dimacisil Torres, said.

There are areas in the Ligawasan Delta that are bastions of the Moro National Liberation Front and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front that have separate peace agreements with Malacañang.

The two erstwhile guerilla fronts and the national government are cooperating in addressing poverty and underdevelopment in the Bangsamoro provinces and in administrative regions where there are MNLF and MILF camps that are now recognized as “peace zones” by the Armed Forces and the Philippine National Police.

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BANGSAMORO

COTABATO CITY

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