“Peace, Not War” is the cry of everyone living in violent place and time.
Mindanao is one of these places where this cry needs to be answered. It has more than its quota of violent news and seemingly endless chaos. It has been fighting for peace amidst people with seemingly conflicting benefits and principles. Mindanao is tagged by tourism offices of other countries as among the least suggested places to be visited. Bombings, kidnappings, and threats to lives are daily realities Mindanaoans face.
The Children’s Future
The cost of war is putting the future generation at stake. Children are living in fear, even as they witness chaos that could erupt at any moment. Their education and health are being sacrificed. Violence hinders their right to enjoy what their land could have offered them.
Job Opportunities & Livelihood
Because of its unpredictable future, Mindanao has made investors hesitant to give it a chance to grow more. Farming and fishing are the basic livelihoods of the Mindanaoans. People, however, remain poor because of the lack of support from the government. People tend to outmigrate from Mindanao, deciding to live in crowded urban areas northward. The election of President Rodrigo Duterte was seen by people of Mindanao as a sure way for them to get a greater support from government for the improvement of livelihood and economy of the region, but that, too, was uncertain.
Economic Progress for the Whole Country
Let us never forget that Mindanao, for decades, is known as the Land of Promise and all the good things that it could offer. The impressive tropical rainforests, fertile valleys and great biodiversity are the factors that the Philippines and its partners could not ignore. It is also the home to some of the world’s largest pineapple plantations, which contribute a lot to the Philippine economy,
Filipinos are always looking forward for a progressive Mindanao, maybe not at this instant, but eventually with the help of every people in our country. In oneness, we’ll see Mindanao full of hope and not of fear.
Mr. Quiroga is manager for Audit & Assurance at P&A Grant Thornton.
As published in Mindanao Times, dated 19 December 2016