Inside out

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North Cotabato Rep Piñol: ‘Gov’t mismanaged Mindanao’

Posted by Abi Kwok on August 11, 2008

By Abigail Kwok
INQUIRER.net
First Posted 19:24:00 08/11/2008

MANILA, Philippines — The memorandum of agreement (MoA) on ancestral domain between the government and Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) has done “nothing but created borders and because of that, it will ignite more clashes,” North Cotabato Representative Bernardo Piñol said on Monday.

In a privilege speech at the House, Piñol, in whose province security forces have mounted an assault to dislodge MILF forces that have occupied 15 villages in five towns, also described as “exaggeration” government efforts to forge peace with the Moro rebels because, he said, Muslims and Christians have been living in harmony in Mindanao.

The solon also slammed a “macroeconomic approach” to Mindanao that he said has led to government’s failure to solve the micro-economic problems hounding the southern island’s regions.

Last week, the Supreme Court issued a temporary restraining order on the signing of the MoA on a petition filed by officials of North Cotabato and Zamboanga City.

This was soon followed by clashes in North Cotabato that have escalated into the current government assault.

“The peace agreement is an exaggeration,” Piñol said. “Only in Mindanao can you see Muslims and Christians living peacefully together. [The government’s] formula in solving the poverty problem in Mindanao is [also] lacking. The government has done nothing but macro-manage Mindanao.”

What government should do instead of embarking on “macroeconomic” programs, he said, is focus on the micro-level problems like poverty, which he called the root cause of all Mindanao’s woes.

“Poverty is the serious illness that causes all troubles and the government’s formula of solving the poverty problem in Mindanao is lacking,” Piñol said.

But the government, he added, has “failed to prescribe the right medicines [for] the illness of the people in Mindanao.”

The solution to poverty, he said, is to provide land for all Mindanao residents to cultivate.

“[The solution] is for every people in Mindanao to plant his area with the support of the government, and that support is needed during harvest time. There are a lot of high value crops [that] are suitable [to] Mindanao but [are] never found in Mindanao because of the lack of government support,” he said.

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