Mindanao and the Bangsamoro: Prospects for Peace – from an Economic Point of View

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Until now, the Philippines is a developing country, on the constant struggle for progress vis-a-vis the international economy. Within the country however, a region is facing struggles of its own – struggles for economic stability, and more importantly, peace The symposium about Mindanao and the Bangsamoro: Prospects for Peace was held last December 1, 2010 at the University of the Philippines Auditorium. A project of the Consortium of Bangsamoro Civil Society (CBCS), the symposium aimed to make known about the armed conflict in Mindanao, its economic effects on the region and the sustained advocacy for peace. Indeed, the conflicts have caused overall decline for the region in more aspects than one, which is why the road to peace must be taken if development and progress are desired. According to the CBCS (2010), the armed conflict in Mindanao has been dragging for 3 decades, making it the longest running insurgency in South East Asia. This has led to the economic marginalization and destitution of the region. Perhaps the gravest loss entailed by this long term dispute is the human cost. An estimated 120,000 lives have been lost in the Mindanao conflict over the past 30 years. Armed hostilities in the region inevitably lead to internal displacement of the people. They seek refuge in evacuation centers where living conditions are harsh. Normal life and productive activity came to a halt. A large portion of the population, especially the infants and the elderly, have succumbed to illnesses, due to lack of food and healthcare. Needless to say, many Muslims were compelled to relocate to different cities and provinces (most often outside of Mindanao) over the years (CBSC, 2010). Needless to say, poverty is one of the main problems that have transpired because of these armed conflicts. Regions of Mindanao, such as ARMM, rank the highest in poverty incidence in the country. As stated by the CBSC (2010), three of the factors that have led to economic decline are...
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