President Rodrigo Duterte has urged the Moro people to expedite the exploitation of natural resources in the Bangsamoro region including potentially oil-rich Liguasan Marsh.
Duterte said this during the 121st Independence Day celebration in Lanao del Sur, one of the provinces of the newly created region.
“Now that you have the BOL (Bangsamoro Organic Law), I guarantee you exploit your resources. Madaliin na ninyo. Ang sabi ninyong Liguasan Marsh walang makialam niyan, inyo ‘yan. That was my commitment to you,” he said.
He suggested to the Moros to look for partners for the exploration.
“You don’t have the money, look for partners, exploit your territory of the riches. Para ‘yan sa mga anak ninyo, hindi na ‘yan para sa inyo. That was really reserved for our children. Exploit it. Exploit the natural resources and make the Moro rich,” he said.
As early as 2008, Moro National Liberation Front founding chairman Nur Misuari already mentioned the economic gains from the oil reserves in the Liguasan Marsh.
He said the marsh holds a huge reservoir of natural gas worth hundreds of billions of dollars, and the Bangsamoro people could become one of the richest if this area is placed under their control.
The Liguasan Marsh, which spans 220,000 hectares, lies along the provinces of North Cotabato, Sultan Kudarat and Maguindanao.
“Take advantage of it and hurry up the progress of the place. Walang makikialam sa inyo diyan,” Duterte said.