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COTABATO CITY — Minister of Interior and Local Government Atty. Naguib G. Sinarimbo on Friday, August 4, led the groundbreaking ceremony for the installation of a ₱15-million Water Desalination Plant in the coastal municipality of Tabuan-Lasa on the island province of Basilan.
The Bangsamoro Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) has three island municipalities and three landlocked municipalities — Basilan, Sulu and Tawi-Tawi; Lanao del Sur, Maguindanao del Sur, and Maguindanao del Norte.
Sinarimbo’s Ministry of the Interior and Local Government (MILG) is one of the 15 primary ministries of the Bangsamoro government, now on the fourth of its six-year transition period.
For the uninitiate, the MILG explained the process of drawing water from the sea and transforming the salty liquid into a potable water as it noted the scarcity of water for drinking and cooking in BARMM’s remote local government units (LGUs) surrounded by bodies of water.
“Desalination is the process of removing salt from seawater so that it can be consumed and used. Some remote island municipalities in the region lack access to safe drinking water, and the majority rely on dug wells, rainwater, or bottled mineral water. Access to safe drinking water is extremely difficult. Finding clean water for drinking and domestic use is a major challenge for many impoverished communities. The installation of seawater desalination facility can provide the island’s residents with safe drinking water,” the MILG said.
Sinarimbo said the Bangsamoro government is committed to the development of BARMM LGUs, and that the water desalination system projects the MILG has been putting up are expected to provide convenience and water safe for consumption to the people of Tabuan-Lasa.
“We are your partners, and we will continue to support the LGU in all of its endeavors to realize the vision of excellent local governments,” he assured.
The Bangsamoro region, established in 2018 by the Bangsamoro Organic Law (BOL) to implement the 2014 Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro (CAB), is made up of the provinces of Basilan, Lanao del Sur, Maguindanao del Sur, Maguindanao del Norte, Sulu, and Tawi-Tawi, the cities of Cotabato, Lamitan, and Marawi, as well as the 63 barangays or villages dubbed Special Geographic Area (SGA) that voted “yes” in a plebiscite in February 2019 to be under the BARMM jurisdiction.
According to the Philippine Atlas BARMM has 4,404,288 people. It has 116 municipalities: Basilan, 11 municipalities; Lanao del Sur, 39; undivided Maguindanao, 36; Sulu, 19; and Tawi-Tawi, 11. Its component cities are Cotabato (the regional center and capital) in Maguindanao; Lamitan in Basilan; and Marawi in Lanao del Sur. — EKU/MILG (✓)