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FACT CHECK: Gas in Ligawasan Marsh confirmed during Ramos administration


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FACT CHECK: Gas in Ligawasan Marsh confirmed during Ramos administration
Renewed interest in the natural gas deposits of Ligawasan Marsh surfaces as oil exploration resumes in the Cotabato Basin

Claim: The presence of natural gas deposits in Liguasan (officially spelled Ligawasan) Marsh were confirmed during the administration of former president Corazon Aquino.

Rating: FALSE

Why we fact-checked this: The YouTube video, posted on March 11, garnered over 14,853 views and more than 1,000 likes from a channel with 177,000 subscribers.

The facts: The presence of natural gas deposits in Ligawasan Marsh (formerly spelled Liguasan) was officially confirmed in 1997 under the Tukanakuden Oil Exploration Project, a joint project by the government-owned Philippine National Oil Company (PNOC) and the Malaysian company Petronas. 

During this time, Fidel V. Ramos is already on his 5th year as president of the Philippines. His term started in 1992 and ended in 1998.

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According to the United States National Women’s History Museum’s website, Cory Aquino served from February 25, 1986, to June 30, 1992.

Unfinished business: Despite “reassuring results” from the joint project, a PhilStar article reported that the exploration of “Liguasan Marsh” was abandoned in 1997 after 40 Philippine National Oil Corporation workers were harassed by suspected Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) rebels.

Ramos also declared a state of emergency in eight towns in the Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) on July 1, 1997, amid threats of attacks from rebel groups before a ceasefire agreement later on July 21.

PNOC and the Department of Energy (DOE) cited serious security concerns when further explorations in the area were discontinued. According to Mindanao-based firm SK Liguasan Oil and Gas Corporation’s (SKLOGC) website, the Cotobato Basin became “unfinished business” as seen in DOE’s Petroleum Service Contract Map shown in the website.

Exploration for oil and gases in the area did not resume until 2022 when the DOE awarded a petroleum service contract (PSC) to SKLOGC to operate and develop Ligawasan Marsh. The Mindanao-based firm is currently starting oil explorations in the 72,000-hectare petroleum-prospective area for commercial viability.

To check Rappler’s other fact checks on Ligawasan Marsh and its natural gas deposits, see its reports on deuterium gas and claimed mining efforts. – Kyle Marcelino/Rappler.com

Kyle Marcelino is a graduate of Rappler’s fact-checking mentorship program. This fact check was reviewed by a member of Rappler’s research team and a senior editor. Learn more about Rappler’s fact-checking mentorship program here.

Keep us aware of suspicious Facebook pages, groups, accounts, websites, articles, or photos in your network by contacting us at factcheck@rappler.com. Let us battle disinformation one Fact Check at a time.

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