By: Ernie Reyes, InterAksyon.com November 24, 2013 1:50 PM
MANILA, Philippines – Senator Grace Poe wants to review the Philippine government’s development plan for the Mindanao region, particularly in conflict areas, to ensure its inclusion in the accelerated growth pursued by the country.
“Mindanao is an important region in the country and we must ensure a comprehensive and fitting development program for the region and its people,” she said Sunday.
Her Resolution No. 298 urges “the Senate Committees on Local Government and Peace, Unification and Reconciliation and Economic Affairs to conduct an inquiry, in aid of legislation, into the Philippine government’s development program for Mindanao, especially its conflict-affected areas, to ensure the Mindanaoans’ and the region’s comprehensive inclusion in the path of accelerated growth pursued by the Philippines.”
Mindanao, with its rich natural resources and diverse cultures, possesses great potential for driving accelerated and inclusive growth. However, it has one of the highest levels of poverty in the country due to armed conflicts, peace and order issues, and governance challenges.
The World Bank, in its 2005 report, estimated that direct losses from internal conflicts in Mindanao from 1970 to 2001 are between $2 billion and $3 billion.
The recent uprising in Zamboanga City has also displaced thousands of families and resulted in casualties and economic losses for the Mindanao region.
Meanwhile, the proposed Bangsamoro political entity is currently being ironed out by the Philippine government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front. It may be recalled that on 15 October 2012 or a year ago, the parties signed the Framework Agreement on the Bangsamoro in pursuit of elusive peace and development in Mindanao.
Poe’s resolution said: “It is deemed timely to review the overall development program for the Mindanao region, and accord it the necessary, full support which it deserves as a key region, and also as a fitting way to honor the slain soldiers and police in the cited recent uprising and give meaning to their acts of sacrifice for the country.”