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Senate aspirant Mangudadatu urges probe of Ligawasan Marsh

Cotabato City—Administration senatorial candidate Zajid “Dong” Mangudadatu is pushing for natural gas and crude exploration of Ligawasan Marsh in the heart of Cotabato River Basin to boost the country’s economy amid increasing inflation rate.

Deep-wells appear to contain flammable gas within the level of water table that potable liquid burns when lit on container or at gushing pipe faucet.

The marsh water, flammable whether pumped through pipes or fetched in containers from deep-wells, is shown in videos of Mangudadatu’s sorties in Maguindanao’s Second District, which he represents in Congress.

Congressman Mangudadatu said the signing of peace deals with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front and the passage of the Bangsamoro Organic Law provide the right atmosphere and opportune time to allow previous drillings to continue for natural gas in the area.

Mangudadatu of the PDP-Laban pro-administration coalition slate said a massive recovery of natural gas from the Ligawasan Marsh will generate huge revenues to propel the country’s recovery from inflation, largely blamed on a tax reforms package that has generated domino-effects on prices of petroleum products and of basic commodities.

The marsh has a total area of 220,000-hectares that straddle over the territories of Maguindanao, South Cotabato and North Cotabato provinces. 

Past explorations

Since the Marcos administration, the government and a Malaysian firm had endeavored much on natural gas exploration and recovery efforts in Ligawasan, including the digging of the Kulanguan Diversion Channel in 1980 to drain a huge portion of the marsh, but which has altered the natural course of the Mindanao River. 

In 1994, the Malaysian-owned Petronas Carigali ceased its exploration operation because of armed conflict in Barangay Tukanakuden, Sultan Sa Barongis, Maguindanao, where massive natural gas deposits were then the subject of huge pipe drilling.

The Philippine National Oil Company-Exploration Corporation (PNOC-EC) resumed the Petronas exploration which was officially opened in Tukanakuden by then PNOC President Ramon Mitra Jr. in 1998.

In his statement to residents, Mitra was straightforward as to describe as “mind-boggling” the underground natural gas deposits in Sultan Sa Barongis, placed by many estimates at 10 billion liters. But again, the PNOC-EC halted its operation on the third drilling near Barangay Tabungao (in what is now Rajah Buayan town) in 2005, purportedly due to heavy losses and peace and order problem.

Residents said some heavy equipment rented to PNOC-EC by private contractors were seen drowned to a stream of quick sand in Barangay Tukanakuden.

They said PNOC-EC workers talked about long-term exploration and recovery programs for gargantuan deposits of natural gas, and of fossils crude on second level down.

Still, for some people a flammable liquid is hardly conclusive that methane gas deposits were anywhere close for a find underground.

Most common studies on combustion reveal that it results from a “rapid chemical combination of a substance with oxygen (like water) in the process of producing heat and light.”

Topics: Zajid “Dong” Mangudadatu , Cotabato River Basin , Ligawasan Marsh , Moro Islamic Liberation Front , Philippine National Oil Company-Exploration Corporation
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