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The iniquity of ignorance

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Clans conflict in Cotabato, family feud in Maguindanao and turf war in Basilan. Noticeably, the troubles that beset the Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao have nothing to do with separatist agenda. As we can see, the encounters are no longer between the government and the secessionist fronts.  In fact the protagonists in many of these encounters are members of the same Front and in some cases of the same clan or even among family members.       

Ironically however, much of the solutions to these internal conflicts can be had if a stable peace agreement can be reached between the government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front. There lies the paradox. But let’s face it. Whatever are the political interventions will not provide panacea to the deeply rooted cause of conflict which is fundamentally agrarian in nature. But then again while the agrarian conflict maybe addressed this will not provide a lasting and permanent solution to the present and future problems obtaining in the region. It will only be palliative. As with other regions in the country, land conflict had become a focal issue. The exploding population has come to a point of severity that requires a more realistic approach which should open the doors to alternatives to agrarian interest. Otherwise, the next generation will face an era of destituteness for lack of opportunities. We have to unlock those doors leading to new prospects for we cannot be eternally lock horns over claims or ownership of lands that can no longer provide viable livelihood to an unhampered growth of  population.          

Education is the key. This is less costly than the protracted conflict between the government and the fronts and yet difficult to carry out because of war and poverty that arose from war. That is why peace has to be secured so that we can bring the youths back from the war arena and evacuation centers to centers of education. We have seen thousands of Filipino Muslim professionals in corporate and government institutions. We have seen them succeeding as entrepreneurs. An educated Filipino can compete in any arena but he has to be freed from the shackles of ignorance and capitulation to the thought that only in toiling the land can there be a prospect ahead of him. That idle thought has become a myth. The youth among Muslims and Christians specifically in the unstable region where autonomy is supposed to bring and insure stability, must rise against the iniquity of war between the government and the fronts, conflict between clans, the ignominy of the feuds between family members, terrorism and savagery because these are the veritable hindrances to their alternative opportunities and prospects. If they have to be angry, let this be centered on this iniquity.

By Menardo Wenceslao




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