Friday, 25 March 2011 14:54
Who stands to gain most if the peace negotiation between the Moro Islamic Liberation Front and the government will finally come to a happy ending?
What many Filipino Muslims may not have realized is that contrary to their general perception that they have been marginalized the screaming fact is that Muslim communities are actually supposed to be recipients of unimaginably large amounts of aid and donations from the national government and foreign donors.
Separatist groups may have fooled some of the Muslims Filipinos into believing that they are being treated like second class citizens in their own native land but they cannot go on fooling all of the Filipino Muslims all of the time since most of the learned among them are starting to realize how big is the budget allocated to the autonomous government and the immensity of the millions of dollars that are poured into infrastructure and livelihood projects by USAID, the Asian Development Bank and other foreign organizations.
So huge and lopsided are the government budget and international aid allocations for ARMM that there could be legitimate and moral bases if the Lumads and Christians instead wage their own separatist movement than the separatist Fronts do today. It is simply a blatant lie to propagandize a fiction that Muslims are being treated as sub-citizens. The secessionist fronts cannot continue to run their propaganda machinery when the stark reality is that for several decades now the government extends billions of pesos to rev the economy of the autonomous region and virtually bends auditing rules to give the local officials enough elbow room to allocate funds for projects that are politically and culturally correct. The Fronts too are recipients of incalculable amounts of aid from USAID, ADB and a number of foreign donors.
Truth to tell, these foreign donors have a standing guarantee that the moment the peace pact is signed they are prepared to immediately release millions of dollars of aid, a package which does not even contemplate how it will benefit other communities outside of the Bangsamoro people.
Non- Muslim Filipinos deserves equal rights and opportunities in Mindanao as Muslims enjoy the same rights and opportunities in other regions in the country. To delve into this is childish. Maybe our Muslim brothers should rather ask the question: What happened to the foreign aid and the government budgetary allocation for Muslim Mindanao? Unfortunately, so much of this money is pocketed by greedy and corrupt barangay officials and other LGU’s who do not truly have the peoples best interest at heart. Filipino Muslims need to hold their local officials accountable for the wastage of billions of funds that were intended to alleviate them from poverty and illiteracy. Neither the national government nor the Lumads and Christians are their malefactors but the savage culture of corruption that zapped the millions of dollars in aid and billions of pesos in budgetary allocations which could have made the ARMM the most economically stable region in the country today. (MW)
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