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.###

Advertisements

Tribe bae: No to BBL

by Maria Eleanor E. Valeros, #netizenmedia

caption: Bae Makabulig (Ritalinda Lipiahan), a former supervisor of SM Malls in Manila, is now right hand of Datu Lolong, national chairman of Higaonon Tribal Communities Federation. The couple is seen here on their way to Sitio Tamusan, Brgy. Capehan, Libona town, Bukidnon for a tribal assembly. The children are residents of Tamusan.

MISAMIS ORIENTAL, NORTHERN MINDANAO, PHILIPPINES — “We say no to the Bangsamoro Basic Law. We can’t trust some Muslims; they have this culture of reprisal or vendetta (rido) that it’s best to trust only when they are dead,” so states Bae Makabulig (Ritalinda Lipiahan), wife of Datu Lolong (Dencio S. Lipiahan, Sr.) prior to our ritual in line with our membership to the Higaonon tribe on April 2 (Maundy Thursday) as migrants (bilaw or non-lumad bloodline).

A “bae” is a title given to a wife of a datu, the chieftain here of a Higaonon tribe. These two are trusted community leaders.

“I say that we can’t trust all Muslims because when they are angry, lisod kaayo na sila. Pag masuko, rido gyud na. Higaonons value peace. In fact, we are the most peace-loving people of all tribes here. We had only engaged in war when we really were left with no choice. But currently we have worked so hard on promoting economic sustainability as we battle continuously for the preservation of tribal reservation areas,” Bae Makabulig underscored.

Higaonons value promotion of social justice system: recognizing the rights of individuals, protecting and preserving their culture, traditions and institutions.

When Datu Lolong, national chairman of the Talugan Ta Tagoloan-Higaonon Tribal Communities Federation, was asked on reported armed movements recruiting Higaonons, he said that warfare and uprisings are decided by the Council of Datus. As for now, they bank on the various peace treaties forged by their elders such as the Treaties of Dawa (the right to alliance or association), as well as Durian (the right to self-determination under a national government).

“Our laws and peace treaties complement the provisions of Philippine Constitutions – 1935 and 1987 – that we are to unite tribes and to engage in peace processes, no matter how long and painstaking,” the datu added.

“One’s works speak well of one’s motives. How can the Bangsamoro attest to campaigning for peace but preparing, at the same time, for war? The act gives us the hint on how to course our judgment for the welfare of indigenous people here. We will decide what to do with these revolutionary groups when time comes,” the datu accentuated.

For now, they are not bothered by the recruitment activities as consultations between government troops and Higaonons reportedly harassed by revolutionary groups are ongoing. The last talk was held at Camp Evangelista last March 26 and 27 in Patag, Cagayan de Oro City.

Somehow, a culture of deceit is evident in the use of aliases by negotiators from the MILF camp. Mohagher Iqbal, for one, refuses to disclose his real identity, saying it is “normal for them to be carrying various names and monikers.”

Senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos, Jr. led the questioning on Iqbal’s person, but failed to squeeze out substantial information.###

Higaonons get only 3% of job slots

by Maria Eleanor E. Valeros, #netizenmedia

caption: Dencio S. Lipiahan, Sr. (aka Datu Lolong) sits as national chairman of the Higaonon Tribe. He is seen here facilitating a ritual before a tribal assembly tackling concerns on division even among a supposed most organized tribe in Mindanao.

MISAMIS ORIENTAL, NORTHERN MINDANAO, PHILIPPINES — Acquisition of technical education and improved basic life skills are seen to surpass current chances of Higaonons to be accepted into important job sectors.

According to Datu Dencio S. Lipiahan, Sr. of the Talugan Ta Tagoloan – Higaonon Tribal Communities Federation, only three of 100 Higaonons qualify for important jobs like that in government, in the academe, in the manufacturing and labor sectors.

“That’s why we have put up a training center because what most Higaonons here lack in general education, they can learn from technical education specialists.” It was learned that Talugan Ta Tagoloan (TTT), in coordination with TESDA and employers based in Kuwait, Qatar, and Saudi Arabia, open training on housekeeping, practical electricity, carpentry and mason works.

“We also tap some ex-abroad (members of the tribe who have previous experience of overseas work) to help in the training especially on certain adjustments to Middle East culture, how to handle work-related pressure and crisis, how to behave properly as an overseas contract worker, how to deal with home sickness, and the like,” the Supremo of the TTT said.

In a year’s time, around 30 members of the TTT have been deployed. Around 300 workers are needed in the housekeeping and carpentry sectors.

Further, Datu Lolong lamented of the fact that around P12 million funds were lost to non-Higaonon recipients. “Projects worth P400,000 and another around P12 million, that I know of, have been channeled to the wrong agencies and organizations with non-tribal members. We have not benefited from these. So it is best that when help comes to Higaonons, there is a legitimate organization like TTT to deal with, so project implementers will know the current needs of a tribe of which lands and forests are its people’s natural heritage.”

TTT office is in Balingasag, Talusan, Misamis Oriental; email taluganhigaonon@yahoo.com. It is registered under SEC #201329165, with TIN #436-294-976.

Datu Lolong is the national chairman and chief executive officer of the Talugan Ta Tagoloan – Supreme Council of Datus/Baes, Higaonon Tribal Communities Federation.###

#Fallen44’s bro still banks on peace but…

by Maria Eleanor E. Valeros, #newmedia specialist

Images grabbed from tl-ph.facebook.com

CONSOLACION, CEBU, PHILIPPINES (Feb. 7, 2015) — Richard Cempron, brother of PO1 Romeo Cempron, one of the #Fallen44 who perished in a clash against Moro Islamic Liberation Front warriors and Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters, shared that peace should be pursued in Central Mindanao’s areas of conflict like Maguindanao despite the flak.

At the wake of his youngest brother, in a brood of four – all males, Cempron pointed out hostility can never inculcate peace among residents of Maguindanao, and that continued conflicts will only give rise to more armed groups, more displaced people affecting mostly women and children.

“I don’t want to be carried away by what happened to my brother. As a policeman myself, I need to be objective in looking at his case. Currently, we have to grieve over such a great loss. But after this, as we seek justice, we also have to believe that only peaceful negotiations can give way to end fighting in Maguindanao,” Cempron who is based in Quezon City disclosed.

“Pag all-out war kasi mas marami lang ang masasaktan. Katulad niyang nangyari sa brother ko, napatanong ako: Patay na nga bakit pa nila ginanyan,” he added. Cempron shared how disgusted he is upon learning of his brother’s broken skull. He also divulged that some other SAF troopers suffered from hack wounds, one with a slashed throat.

When asked on speculations that the police are demoralized by the tragedy, Cempron said he is devastated emotionally. “Do’n talaga sa suporta. Nakukulangan ako sa suporta sa amin ng itaas. At may isa pa akong katanungan na gusto kong masagot in the process of an inquiry: Bakit hindi ang CIDG (Criminal Investigation and Detection Group) ang nag-serve ng warrant?”

Cempron remembers Romeo as a “very good brother.” He said that Romeo used to cajole him when it comes to his collection of (firearm) magazines. “Hihingin niya kasi minsan meron akong dalawang extrang mags. Naghihiraman na kasi kami talaga ng gamit dati pa. Nagugustuhan niya Smith & Wesson na posas (handcuffs) ko. Yun lang naman kasi ang common ground naming magkakapatid kasi nakalinya kami sa pagpupulis,” Cempron mentioned.

When sought for comment on alleged interest on the bounty placed upon Zulkifli Bin Hir’s head, having been identified responsible in a series of bombing incidents in Southeast Asia, Cempron clarified it is irrational to think that a US$5 million (P200 million) could trigger the assault knowing that said amount couldn’t suffice to launch a nationwide political campaign.

“Napakaliit na amount ng P200 million as campaign funds. For purposes of achievement talaga yang mga secret operations sa hanay ng pulisya. Achievement to boost the institution. Andami na kasi nilang na-achieve talaga. Latest yung Zamboanga siege. But the rest hindi lang nagli-leak sa media. Kung hindi sumablay sa Mamasapano malamang it would be credited to the government, at nasa likod lang talaga ang SAF,” Cempron further revealed.

Meanwhile, widow of the late PO1 Windel Candano, the Dumanjug native (southwestern side of Cebu) who is also of the #Fallen44, reiterated she would pursue public service by becoming a police officer herself. Michelle Candano said briefly that she is serious and would seek to experience how hard were the duties rendered by her husband to the country.

Michelle informed that interment will be on February 8 (tomorrow), but that the two elite commandos will be accorded volleys of fire first at the Central Command-7.###