INJUSTICE AND IMPUNITY
When President Aquino assumed into power, he promised a different Mindanao. His Mindanao 2020 boasts of a plan to push for agricultural development in Mindanao by transforming it into a modern agricultural center for self-sufficiency and be competitive.
Three SONA’s (State of the Nation Address) after, Mindanao remains poor. Based on the latest official poverty statistics released by the National Statistical Coordination Board (NSCB), 36% of the country’s poorest families live in Mindanao.
The country’s three poorest regions are in Mindanao – CARAGA (39.8%), ARMM (38.1%), and Zamboanga Peninsula (36.6%). People in the ARMM has highest cost of living (more than P1,287 ) among all regions in the Philippines, but they only get P232 minimum wage(18% of the cost of living).*
This year, Mindanaoans suffered long hours of brownouts, yet compared to other countries, we were paying the highest electricity rates in Asia. We were blamed for the power crisis yet the national government is not shelling out bigger budget for Mindanao. Instead, they implemented the dole-out Conditional Cash Transfer or Pantawid Pampamilya Program whose budget came from World Bank loans.
In Mindanao, the foreign and local businessmen and landlords are the ones cashing in on the resources of Mindanao. The government has given permits for mining, exploration of oil and natural gas reserves, operations of coal-fired power plants, and expansion of agricultural plantations – which have further pushed the people into poverty and landlessness due to displacement.