Threat to Liguasan Marsh


There were reports last week regarding a plan to start exploration and mining operations at the the Block 10 Cotabato Basin in Liguasan Marsh and Basin Block 6 in Sulu Sea after the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) awarded a permit to the ESMaulana Global Ventures Company Inc.

The company will dredge the entire 1.684 million hectares of Liguasan and Sulu Sea to extract oil and natural gas. It has already boasted of paying the Department of Energy P2 million for the contract and permission to start the project in partnership with the Philippine National Oil Company and local big landlords.

The Communist Party of the Philippines raised concerns over the said project. The BARMM and the Duterte regime should be made accountable for seemingly prioritizing opening up Liguasan Marsh to local and foreign companies instead of protecting the area and its residents.

Residents and environmentalists have long protested against the entry of destructive mining companies and other local and foreign companies in Liguasan. Since 2019 Duterte has been planning to to open the area and allow these companies to exploit its natural resources despite protests.

According to a study, the continued deforestation of the marsh endangers various species of fish, trees, plants and birds. Currently, there are 201 kinds of plants and flowers, and 170 species of birds, 39 of which are endemic to the area. There are also 30 endemic species of fish and animals in the area.

Due to rapid deforestation, Liguasan residents experience extreme hunger. In addition, they experience relentless military ram­pages, bombings and attacks under the guise of “war against terrorism.”

Foreign oil companies, local bureaucrats and their big Moro landlord cohorts have long been salivating over the Liguasan Marsh. The 220,000-hectare marsh covers parts of North and South Cotabato and Maguindanao. A portion of it has been declared a sanctuary in 1979. Residents plant rice and corn in some areas of the marsh.

Liguasan is believed to have an oil reserve worth $1 billion. It is also believed to have 68 billion cubic feet of natural gas deposits supposedly worth $1 trillion.

Threat to Liguasan Marsh