Moro group hits Balikatan

GENERAL SANTOS CITY — The United States has been allegedly probing resource-rich Mindanao in the guise of the Balikatan military exercises, a proof of this is the planned exploration of Exxon Mobile Corp in Sulu Sea, a progressive Moro group has asserted.

“The affirmation of Energy Secretary Angelo Reyes that “Exxon Mobile will not go into any area unless the reserves are large scale or there is a large amount of quality oil” is a proof that the United States of America has long been probing the vastness and productiveness of the Philippines soil in the guise of Balikatan exercises and humanitarian missions,” Bai Ali Indayla, Suara Bangsamoro secretary general, said.

Arroyo Watch: Sun.Star blog on President Arroyo

But Philippine and American military officers said that the Balikatan (shoulder-to-shoulder) exercises are simply meant to enhance each other’s tactical or operational capabilities.

Earlier, Reyes announced that Exxon Mobile, a giant in the oil industry based in the United States, is set to explore the resource-rich Sulu Sea for crude oil deposits this year.

Sulu Sea is home to Tubbataha Reef National Marine Park, considered one of the world’s best heritage sites. Sulu Sea connects the South China Sea and Celebes Sea, which serves as route for tuna and other varieties of fishes going in and out the Pacific Ocean.

Indayla assailed the imminent effects of the looming exploration to the people of Sulu, whom she said “have had enough of never-ending wars, kidnaps, hamlets and killings since the American occupation.”

She said her group is strongly opposing the exploration of Exxon Mobile in Sulu Sea “because it would not only affect and devastate the environment and people’s livelihood but also because it is a testament to the long-list of documents that Filipino people vend their natural resources to foreign countries.”

Exxon Mobile will reportedly shell out $110 million for its exploration activities alone.

Suara Bangsamoro raised fears that Exxon Mobile’s exploration in the Sulu Sea will mark the onset of large-scale explorations in other oil-rich areas in the country.

Indayla chided the government’s concession to foreign oil companies to explore the Philippines, noting the country is continuously importing oil and experiencing oil price increases.

Reyes has said that Exxon Mobile will be farmed into service contract 56 in the Sulu Sea, which is currently being held by Malaysian exploration company Mitra Energy Ltd.

He said Exxon Mobile will be the 50 percent owner of the contract, and will be allowed to operate this project in Sulu.

Indayla lamented that the country’s natural resources are benefitting foreigners, especially those from the United States, rather than Filipinos.

“We are putting our hands to a tiger’s mouth by allowing them to utilize and exploit our own reserves,” she said.

Indayla asked the government to safeguard the welfare of its people first before the interest of foreign corporations. (BSS)


My Take:

US is so addicted to oil it will invade any nation just to have a grasp of that sticky black gold.

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