My Legal Point
Atty. Bayan G. Balt
The Bangsamoro Transition Commission (BTC) that drafted the Bangsamoro Organic Law (BOL) maybe unaware of the vast Economic opportunities laying in lake Lanao. This economic wealth is kept under wrap by the national government from the Moro people for obvious reason. A staggering P45 Billion Pesos annual power revenues are collected by the national government thru the Power Sector Assets and Liabilities Management (PSALM), can feed the entire BARMM region, (MinDa 2017 report), without our LGUS begging anymore from the Manila imperial government.
The BTC’s destitute of knowledge over lake Lanao’s wealth become inimical to our economic prosperity, simply the “BOL” provision of inland waters expressly excluded lake Lanao from the BARMM’s jurisdiction, thus:
Article XIII, Section 22. Management of Inland Waters. – The Bangsamoro Government shall have exclusive powers over inland waters, including lakes, marshes, rivers, and tributaries within its territorial jurisdiction, except those that provide energy to power generating plants.
Lake Lanao is a source of energy as it hosts and feeds the six (6) hydroelectric power plants of the National Power Corporation (NPC) that supplies sixty-five (65%) of the power needs of Mindanao, legally it falls outside the jurisdiction of BARMM.
The “BTC” should have crafted a provision for a reasonable share from the power revenues generated by these power plants to funds “BARMM’s infrastructures and people’s livelihood. Several revolutionary organizations that opted for Peace Agreement with their government have demanded equitable shares from their wealth. In South Sudan, the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA), provides, thus: Under the Comprehensive Peace Agreement, the Government of South Sudan (GoSS) received 50 percent of revenues from oil produced in the south, which accounted for almost all the government’s revenue excepting donor aid. (ECOS, “Getting Sudan’s Oil Deal Right is Key to Peace,” press release, February 28, 2011). Likewise, the Innuit and Crit Indians of Canada got undetermined economic benefits from the Government’s built St. James Bay hydroelectric power plants in their ancestral lake. (Wikipedia)
According to some experts, lake Lanao is a U$15-Billion Dollar industry; once developed, it can irrigate thousands of hectares of farmlands surrounding the lake while the fresh waters can be bottled for drinking and ingredients of liquid medicines, the lake floor can be developed to produce Geothermal energy. All these vast opportunities have gone astray because of the blunder committed by the “BTC”, some of them are now members of the Interim Bangsamoro Transition Authority (BTA) who are demanding three (3) more years in power, without the benefit of elections.
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Atty. Bayan G. Balt is former Chapter President of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP-Marawi City and Lanao del Sur, 2013-2015), Chairman of the Ranao Federal State Movement, (RFSM) and Pres. Of the Alliance of Regional Coalitions Against People’s Poverty (ARCAPP).