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Liguasan Marsh holds billions of dollars in gas - Misuari

KIDAPAWAN CITY, Philippines - The Liguasan 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 chief of the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) said over the weekend. MNLF chair Nur Misuari revealed this during a peace summit held in Patadon village of this city where he addressed his followers and other participants. Misuari said that some American oil engineers told him about the abundance of natural gases in the Liguasan Marsh, the country’s largest wetland. The Americans estimated total earnings from the natural gas of Liguasan - once explored - will amount to $580 billion, Misuari said. “Kung i- convert yan sa ating pera, aabot yan ng trillion pesos", Misuari added. The Liguasan Marsh, which spans 220,000 hectares, lies along the provinces of North Cotabato and Maguindanao, two of the provinces that the Moro people have been claiming as part of their ancestral domain. According to a study conducted by Haribon Foundation, the marsh supports a great variety of aquatic wildlife, including 20 species of fishes, three species of reptiles, and over 20 species of waterfowl, herons, egrets and ducks. Liguasan is the only place in the Philippines where the Comb-crested Jacana, also known as the Lotusbird or the Lillytrotter bird, so named because of its habit of walking on the surface of water by leaping on leaves of louts or water lilies. The marsh is one of the last strongholds for the endangered Philippine Crocodile and the Estuarine Crocodile. The endangered Monkey-eating Eagle is reported to be present in the forested areas of the marsh. Misuari, who called himself as a peace advocate, said peace in Moroland should be obtained in the soonest time possible so that plans on how to obtain the resources of Liguasan Marsh could be laid in. - Rommel Collena, GMANews.TV