“The war in Mindanao has already cost many lives, as well as millions of pesos in government funds each day for ammunition and the sustenance of government troops. Over 300, 000 Mindanaoans have been displaced and now that the school year has started, school children have to share their classrooms with evacuees, while teachers remain apprehensive about teaching again. For its consequences alone, the Mindanao crisis is news, and has become the number one developing story of the last three months.” -
An exerpt from an article entitled “Media and the Mindanao Crisis” by the Philippine Journalism Review Research Staff, 2000
In the book of Rex T. Linao (2001) entitled ‘The peace paradigm of development: An agenda for Mindanaoans’, he tagged Mindanao as the land of lakes. Usually, places located near bodies of water are the ones which easily develop. This is true as for the early civilizations around the world during the middle ages. Development is faster in such places because different water formations are the primary sources of living in the early periods. In the case of Mindanao which has a lot of lakes and is surrounded by seas, the above assertion might not compromise with the current condition of the place. Mindanao is an island which is rich with natural resources. Many land formations like mountains, volcanoes, plateaus, valleys and plains, and bodies of water like seas, lakes, rivers, streams and gulfs are naturally located in Mindanao. In fact, it can be seen here the highest peak in the Philippines, Mount Apo, and one of the longest rivers in the country, Rio del Grande.
According to an entry in Wikipedia, Mindanao is the second largest island in the Philippine Archipelago. It is located at the south of the Philippine area. It is, as well, the eighth most populous island in the world. Mindanao is composed of 26 provinces – each composed of different people with different languages and culture. Of the three group of island in the Philippines – Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao – the latter is said to be the most culturally diverse.
In connection, when talking about Mindanao, who will first come into our minds? – Muslims. A big percentage of the population of Mindanao is dominated by Muslims. But still, there are Catholics, Christians and other religion who reside here. So when one talks about Mindanao, Muslims come first into our minds.
Because of all these factors – geographical location, cultural diversity, religious assortment – by hook or by crook, they contribute to the past, present and future situation of this Philippine’s southern group of islands.
Knowing the history of our country, the Spaniards were the first colonizers. They invaded Philippines for more than 300 years. And Mindanao was never exempted in this colonization. The Spaniards tried to colonize Mindanao, but unlike other places in the Philippines, the inhabitants of this place never gave in that easily. Instead, they become firm and opposed with the colonizers’ objective. It was the very first major conflict recorded in Mindanao – Mindanao inhabitants versus the Spaniards’ divide and rule tactics. Aside from this, they used Christianity to deprive the Muslims. Thus, according to Linao (2001), “…Christians developed hatred against the Moros…The Spaniards succeeded in implanting hatred among the peoples.”
At present, aside from the religious apathy between Christians and Muslims, the autonomy in territory is another big issue. Mindanao sultanates aspire to have full autonomy from the Philippine government. They wanted and still want to be separated with the laws and doctrines of the government of the Philippine Republic.
Who are involved in the conflict?
The Moros. It is a shorter term for Filipino Muslims. According to Santos (2005), Moros are 13 ethno-linguistic groups which are mostly Islamized. Approximately, makes up 20% of the population or four million
The Lumads. In most articles and entries, Lumads are described as...
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