Mindanao and the BOL

Published January 1, 2019, 12:46 AM

by Hector Ronald Romero Villanueva


“Victory, victory at all costs, victory in spite of all terror … for without victory, there is no survival.” — Winston Churchill

Hector RR Villanueva

While Mindanao is the land of promise, it has remained a promise, as peace and progress have been elusive and intractable.

Now, under President Rodrigo Roa Duterte’s leadership and the passage of the Bangsamoro Organic Law (BOL), Mindanao will finally receive the attention and importance that had eluded the island and its population for decades.

With the BOL, Mindanao’s turbulent past, ethnic diversities, injustices, imperial Mania’s neglect, insurgencies, and underdevelopment would herald a new era of economic independence and development.

Unlike Luzon which has a developed infrastructure network, urbanized communities, literate population, large working force, and sophisticated commercial and financial system, Mindanao and, to a certain extent, also Visayas, has been deprived of the means of development.

Mindanao is no longer wholly Muslim owing to migration.

The Muslim communities themselves are comprised of many distinct clans and tribes that are constantly in conflict with each other, resulting in perpetual tribal clashes that make Mindanao currently appear inhospitable and a risky region to travel or settle or invest in, except in areas dominated by progressive, hardy, and determined settlers.

There is also the lingering notion and fear dating back to the Spanish and American colonial periods that Muslims or Moros, cannot be trusted.

Thus, ensuring a lasting peace in Mindanao is the biggest challenge facing President Duterte which can only be brought about by cultivating mutual trust, eradicating poverty, education, infrastructure, and speedier assimilation.

First, Mindanao remains a resource rich island of precious metals and minerals, fertile soil, ample rainfall, and “below the wind” which theoretically means that Mindanao is typhoon free.

Second, in a similar manner, that Communist insurgency thrives where poverty and abuse are pervasive, Muslim Mindanao has long suffered form abject poverty, lack of education, injustice, and lack of opportunity.

Third, the Philippines does not only prides itself of being strategically located on the Asia Pacific Rim but Mindanao is also the gateway to 250 million Muslims in the region.

It cannot be overemphasized that some of the most beautiful and pristine islands of powdery white beaches are scattered all over Mindanao awaiting peace and tourism development.

You be the judge.

A Prosperous 2019 to all!