LOOKING AHEAD: The Bangsamoro and Mindanao’s economy

luwaran editorial“For development to be truly genuine and appreciated, it must be anchored on true moral values, people-focused or people-centered, and is caring for the environment.”

p14 (3)The call of President Benigno Aquino III to business groups to help transform Mindanao economically is not only timely but is very laudable. It comes in the heel of the submission of the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) to Congress, which they are expected to pass without much delay. The President should be heeded and supported for this noble intention.

Of course, the future Bangsamoro political entity (BPE) was not directly mentioned in his speech, as appearing in the article published by one of the leading metropolitan dailies, but we are sure that it is surely included in his mind and agenda.  The BPE is in the heart of Mindanao, and a highly depressed area at that, which therefore deserves the highest priority in this impending business activity boom in this region.

Moreover, development is one of the rationales of the GPH-MILF peace negotiation, especially after the signing of the Framework Agreement on the Bangsamoro (FAB), the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro (CAB), and the BBL.

But for development to be truly genuine and appreciated must anchor on true moral values, people-focused or centered, and is caring for the environment.

In no way, it should become development aggression, which results in massive displacement of people, especially members of the marginalized sectors of society, including the indigenous peoples.

This is the reason why the MILF is not rushing up things for the entry of mining companies even during the Bangsamoro Transition Authority (BTA).

The priority is to develop whatever potentials already there in the BJE, say the vast rich agricultural lands and the fishing grounds that abound with fishes and marine products.

Neither are we imagining constructing high rise buildings or putting up instant industrialized zones. This level of development will come at the right moment, which happens after people are truly empowered and capacitated.

However, right now, there is a creeping threat to the landholdings of ordinary people.

With the lure and advent of the plantation economy, their lands, including those acquired through the operation of the scheme called “voluntary offer to sell” (VOS) under the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR), are rapidly disappearing.

Many moneyed and powerful people are buying off these small landholdings usually at an exuberant price and put there either African oil, banana, pineapple, or rubber plantations.

With this difficulty seemingly looming in the air and with no succor right in sight, the curse of the bloody encounters over the friars’ lands centuries ago or the haciendas in Luzon and the Visayas will be reenacted in the BJE.

The necessary consequence is that in the rumble in the jungle, the mightiest and the strongest will always triumph. EDITORIAL/Timely Call /luwaran.com/Sept.8, 2014



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