Philippines internal conflict costs P20B annually; P7B up for Bangsamoro

by Maria Eleanor E. Valeros, #CebuBloggingCommunity

CEBU CITY, PHILIPPINES — Economic costs of the Mindanao conflict have already reached P640 billion from 1970 to 2001, or an estimated P20 billion per year.

This information was relayed via press conference on the salient points of the Bangsamoro Basic Law here recently with the presence of peace panel chief negotiator Miriam Coronel-Ferrer.

The P640-B economic loss is in terms of damages to business and properties, potential investments and businesses in the region had there been better security (no war).

Studies by Edgardo Barandiaran (2002), Salvatore and Judd Mary Schiavo-Campo (2005) and the United Nations Development Program (2005) pointed out that the all-out war policy in 2000 alone cost us 1.3 billion. From 1970-1996 war with the Moro National Liberation Front, government spent 73 billion in combat expenses.

The studies are entitled “Economic costs of the Mindanao conflict” for World Bank-Manila; “The Mindanao conflict in the Philippines: Roots, Costs and Potential Peace Dividend,” and “Social development papers (conflict prevention and reconstruction) Paper No. 24 for Washington-World Bank; and “Philippine Human Development Report” for Manila-Human Development Network, respectively.

As for social welfare, a DSWD 2012 Yearend Report noted of nearly 120,000 people killed between 1970-1996. In a pie chart, the human casualties were distributed as follows: 20 percent civilians, 50 percent MNLF, and 30 percent Armed Forces of the Philippines.

Social welfare disruption includes internally displaced persons placed at 982,000 in the 2000 all-out-war while 600,000 in 2008; cycle of violence and injustice; disruption of development efforts (multigenerational setbacks), destruction of the environment, and poor sense of wellbeing and security.

When asked if there is also a breakdown on how much the state, or the taxpayers will be losing again, should the BBL fail to push through, Coronel said there is no such detailed info similar to published collaterals, but that the country has to think about the value of peace. “Think of development and education opportunities not only in Central Mindanao but of its neighboring regions. Right now we can’t have specific valuation for the benefits. But if we just think peace, who could ever go wrong with that?”

However, Facebook-er Henz HP does not believe in the process. “We are being made to believe there is no substate (independent Islamic state). But provisions point to the creation of a substate. What government would be so keen in dealing with terrorists using taxpayers money?”

When Coronel was asked if P7 billion for Bangsamoro will all be from the government coffers, she clarified that P17 million is allocated for the rehabilitation in five years; P10 million of which will be downloaded on the first year as Official Development Assistance, while the rest will be World Bank-funded development programs.

The media briefing was held at the AFP Central Command in Camp Lapulapu, Barangay Lahug.###

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Peace panel chief: Bangsamoro ‘constitutional’

by Maria Eleanor E. Valeros, #CebuBloggingCommunity

CEBU CITY, PHILIPPINES (May 28, 2015) — Peace process chief negotiator Miriam Coronel-Ferrer reiterates today here at the AFP Central Command in Lahug that the creation of the Bangsamoro Basic Law has no legal impediments.

Why is the Bangsamoro constitutional? Ferrer, through a presentation, pointed out that the creation of the Bangsamoro is provided for in the Philippine Constitution. She cited Article 10, Section 15 of the 1987 Philippine Constitution stating that “there shall be created autonomous regions in Muslim Mindanao and in the Cordilleras consisting of provinces, cities, municipalities, and geographical areas sharing common and distinctive historical and cultural heritage, economic and social structures, and other relevant characteristics within the framework of this Constitution and the national sovereignty as well as territorial integrity of the Republic of the Philippines.”

The creation of the Bangsamoro will follow a legislative process with the enactment of an organic act and its ratification in the core territory, this was the second point.

The third reason why Bangsamoro does not leap beyond legal parameters is that it follows the Constitution’s provision on legislative powers of an autonomous region while upholding national sovereignty of the Philippines.

“There is no substate. In fact, mahirap i-define kung ano talaga ang substate,” Ferrer stressed. “What Bangsamoro is is similar to the creation of ARMM only that we are granting to Moros their right to self-determination but still they are under one Philippines.

“Hindi naman buong Mindanao ‘to. The framework is actually for Central Mindanao. We recognize also the division among Moro groups, and that it takes two provinces to form an autonomous region. The salient points of the draft provide for a Bangsamoro government that is parliamentary and democratic. It will never be a separate state. It will remain under Philippine sovereignty.”

She cited Article 10 of Section 20 of the 1987 Constitution that “within its territorial jurisdiction and subject to provisions of this Constitution and national laws, the organic act of autonomous region shall provide for the legislative powers over: administrative organization; creation of sources of revenues; ancestral domain and natural resources; personal, family, and property relations; regional urban and rural planning development; economic, social, and tourism development; educational policies; preservation and development of the cultural heritage; and such other matters as may be authorizd by law for the promotion of the general welfare of the people of the region.”

Further, a ministerial form of government in the Bangsamoro is allowed under the Philippine Constitution. Based on Art. 10 of Sec. 15 “the organic act shall define the basic structure of government for the region consisting of executive department and legislative assembly, both of which shall be elective and representative of the constituent political units.”

“The Bangsamoro is a secular government, not an Islamic state,” Ferrer added. “We should give peace a chance. We should allow Bangsamoro to demonstrate its sincerity, more than a process of decommissioning of arms; allow them to prove they have respect for the basic rights of all.”###