Mindanao . . . An Opinion

A perspective that’s often lacking in many discourses. The issues are complex to say the least. And calling for an all-out war without understanding the nuances of the protracted conflicts and the root causes of the problems in Mindanao is a great disservice not just to the people who live there but the country as a whole.

The Society of Honor: the Philippines

ameril-umbrakato-biff-afp-rappler Ameril Umbra Kato, founder of BIFF. [Photo by Rappler]

by Taga Bundok

This is the opinion of one person who has spent some time in Mindanao, and has been paying attention for a while. It is not meant to be presented as “truth” or as the only possible valid opinion. There is a great deal that could be said and most perspectives deserve some attention.

First a wee bit history, as brief as I can make it.

The policy of sponsored settlement of immigrants in Mindanao did not, as is sometimes claimed, start with Marcos: it dates back to the American colonial period. It did accelerate dramatically through the 50s and 60s, to a point that by 1970 many formerly Muslim-majority areas were dominated by settlers, raising tension at many levels. Muslim land generally held no government-recognized title, with no legal impediment to giving it away.

A number of factors…

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