COTABATO CITY (December 17, 2020) — DENR Central and DENR IX, X, XII Regional Offices have begun turning over to the Ministry of Environment, Natural Resources, and Energy – BARMM their protected areas, documents, maps, and other materials and assets covering the City of Cotabato and the 63 Barangays of North Cotabato province.

DENR Undersecretary of Enforcement, Mining and Muslim Affairs Usec. Jim O. Sampulna led the turnover of the National Office to BARMM Executive Secretary and concurrent MENRE Minister Abdulraof A. Macacua.

Usec. Sampulna stressed that after the initial turnover, the DENR National and concerned Regional Offices will constantly coordinate with the Bangsamoro Government in assuring that complete assets and other materials will be entrusted to the management of the BARMM.

“We are willing to provide guidance in the administration of ENR projects in the BARMM. That is what DENR Secretary Roy Cimatu told me, “Tulungan”,” Usec. Sampulna said, underscoring that their doors are open whenever BARMM needs assistance on the given materials.

Minister Macacua, on the other hand, said that environmental issues are a major concern worldwide, and emphasized that the BARMM is not immune to this.

“Now that Cotabato City and the 63 barangays of North Cotabato are officially part of the Bangsamoro community, we envision a society that features greener and more climate-smart values,” Macacua said in his message.

“As the Khalifa or stewards, we shall strengthen the implementation of the existing environmental laws and policies here in our growing Bangsamoro region,” he added.

DENR 12 Regional Executive Director Atty. Felix S. Alicer, DENR 9 Assistant Regional Director of Technical Services Ronald D. Gadot, and DENR 10 OIC Assistant Regional Director for Technical Services Aldrich S. Resma expressed their support to the Bangsamoro Government as they also turned over their respective regional documents, survey maps and assets.

Protected areas that were mentioned to be turned over to BARMM were the Turtle Islands Wildlife Sanctuary from Region 9, the Lake Lanao Watershed from Region 10, and the Liguasan Marsh from Region 12.

MENRE Deputy Minister Akmad A. Brahim and Assistant Regional Secretary Alindatu K. Pagayao were also present and showed utmost acceptance of the provided properties.

Supervision and control of other matters that were handed over to the BARMM also include records and documents of the regional offices’ National Greening Program, The Integrated Natural Resources and Environmental Management Project, Protected Area Suitability Assessment of Lake Buluan and Liguasan Marsh, and other projects and programs.

Two days following the Cotabato City-to-BARMM turnover, the DENR National-MENRE turnover ceremony was held on December 17, 2020 at the Kalikasan Hall, BARMM-MENRE Regional Office, Cotabato City.

BARMM-MENRE commits to continue performing its mandates, vision and mission to protect and conserve the nature of Bangsamoro, guided by moral governance, as the region builds clean, healthy, safe and resilient communities.