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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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.###