Mindanao has been for decades at the tailend of economic development. Based on latest data from the National Statistical and Coordination Board, the six poorest provinces in the country are in Mindanao. Five regions with the lowest human development index are also in the island. Displacement and marginalization due to armed conflict have retarded development in many communities. Workers from socio-civic organizations continue to extend help to Mindanao’s populace even as they are themselves threatened with kidnapping by lawless elements. Consequently, the people, especially women and children, are the ones greatly affected by the dismal socio-economic and political conditions pervading the island.
On the other hand, Mindanao has proven itself to be the ‘promised land’ that our forefathers have fought for. Its contribution to the national agricultural output is at a high 34% as well as 44% in domestic food trade. The island remains to be the leading producer of major agri-industrial crops and continue to perform well in the agricultural sector. It is also fast emerging as a center for business processing as more investments come in in the light of better business environment and skilled human resources.
On October 7, 2012, His Excellency President Benigno Simeon “Noynoy” C. Aquino III, presented the Framework for the Bangsamoro Agreement. According to the President, “(T)he ARMM is a failed experiment. Many of the people continue to feel alienated by the system, and those who feel that there is no way out will continue to articulate their grievances through the barrel of a gun. We cannot change this without structural reform.”
An enduring peace agreement between the Government of the Philippines (GPH) and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) has been the long-held clamor of the people in the region. The decades-long conflict has taken a dizzying, ruthless and despondent toll on both fronts: more than a thousand people’s lives wasted, properties and entire communities destroyed, with a multitude of people displaced. With this framework agreement, the people of ARMM hope that it will lead to a Final Peace Agreement that will ensure reforms on its political structure and bring a true and lasting peace in ARMM.
Peace has been one of the most elusive thing in the eyes of the freedom fighters in Mindanao, looking at it as the perennial holy grail and that everyone who wishes peace in their eyes must seek the baton of war in order to free the “Moro” people who has been continually under the so-called yoke of the Philippine government.
In any case, it should still be the INTEREST AND WELFARE OF THE PEOPLES OF MINDANAO that should take precedence over and above other motives, interests or calls. The voice of the people should be heard in both the Lower House and the Senate.
Thus, we will support and vote senatorial and congressional candidates, partylists, and local government candidates that will have a true sense of being a Mindanaon!
AKSYON MINDANAW is the actualization of a maturity sprung from a hope to create a sustainable level of advocacy knowing that if we hope to change the world, we begin with a hope to better him/her Self. This perception is further given depth by the plural society of today; an individual that takes on an active role in the nation building is an individual that has immersed his identity to reflect the diversity of his surroundings. Being inspired from knowing one’s roots, Aksyon Mindanaw identifies with the multiplicity of culture, expression, belief systems and even Faith – in this an inspiration and vision to be an active component towards creating a more livable future has risen.
AKSYON MINDANAW hopes that despite the tension, differences and seeming separation that we all come to realize that we are all citizens of the same human condition. A condition to voyage-on, despite the struggle and to better understand the self through our varied and often times unique life experiences. In this manner, AKSYON MINDANAW, take a unique stand to be united in our diversity and to be proud of the culture of having come from the same origin and in the end, having the same journey’s end. It is AKSYON MINDANAW’s vision to be aware of the rich flavor that culture paints our existence with, and in this have sustainable acts focused on a wider acceptance to better the peace process, allow a progressive economy to surface and an environment that is still able to nurture life as we know it.
In the next few weeks, we will be doing our own campaign. We will ask the people in Southern Mindanao, who is their choice for this 2013 elections.
God Willing (IN SHA ALLAH), this time, we will have the right choice! Mindanao for Mindanao!