Counterproductive moves in Mindanao PDF Print E-mail
Monday, 09 March 2015 13:48

By REMEDIOS F. MARMOLEÑO

 

“Vicious cycle.”  “Being on a treadmill.”  “ Counterproductive.”  “Dog chasing its own tail.”

These phrases we use or read very often  and they all mean that we continue to use procedures to attain a goal and these procedures, in fact , frustrate our attaining the goal.

Our situation in Mindanao which has been articulated ad nauseam by the rebel groups is that Mindanao has  received  the most minimal of attentions  from the national government  in terms of budget and public services. These claims may have their basis and we will not dispute it.

But how have the rebel groups addressed the issue over the years? Well, by rebelling, by violence, by raising mayhem, etc. And how have these means affected Mindanao?  Well, exactly  opposite to what  is desired: poverty, absence of peace, human suffering, wide lags in practically all the development indicators relative to other Philippine areas.  Is this what we want to happen?

Let us set aside the insidious political motives in the GRP and MILF negotiations and focus only on the stated motives kuno.  And assuming that a level of reliability and sincerity are operational on both sides, why can’t we begin to support the stated motives?

If we want Mindanao to develop as well as the other Philippine areas – and we can because we have the natural resources- peace in Mindanao is imperative.  That is a given. Without peace there will be very low human development that will take place and this outcome will be used to call for rebellion once again.  So where do we step in to break the vicious cycle?

One estimate is that P1 million a day  has to be set aside to address the needs of IDPs running away from the “limited war” in their localities. And these needs are the most basic  that center on shelter, food, health. If this P1 M a day were spent instead on improving services to the people in their every day lives in their own communities rather than as IDPs, can you imagine how much good can be achieved?  Or even consider the additional good that can be arrived at if what the government spends on bullets and other logistical needs of the soldiers were spent instead on other items?

One doesn’t have to be a great philosopher or be the sharpest financier to come to the obvious answers. So why aren’t we doing that?

Purely from the economic interest, investments don’t come in places where there is a shooting war. No investments means little economic progress, perennially low income for the majority, high economic dissatisfaction, etc, etc. So why aren’t we addressing these?

Or are we allowing the personal ambitions for power and economic dominance  of a few to blur  our own vision for Mindanao?