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Heart of Darkness

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Can it be that PNoy is so hyperbolically obsessed with his anti-corruption drive - topmost of which is the ongoing impeachment of Supreme Court Chief Justice Renato Corona - and with Grace Lee (passionate love can paralyze a man’s brain) that he is left “noynoying” emergencies like the Mindanao power crisis and the floundering GPH-MILF peace talk? Not to mention a willy-nilly response to the Scarborough stand-off (He said, We are too small to fight China.  Huh?).  Has two years of roller- coaster presidential work all but zapped his psychic energy so that he sees no need for special powers from Congress to resolve the Mindanao energy problem, and then turns around to point his presidential finger on Mindanaoans and declares: Your money (higher electricity rates through further privatization of power supply) or your light?

If PNoy is running out of mental energy and the competence of his government is peaking already this early in his presidency,  then Mindanao and the rest of the nation are in serious trouble.  The all-important complicated war against poverty is lost, again. 

The only other possible, kinder explanation is that the nation as it is politically organized has become absolutely ungovernable.  If that were true, it is but one more supervening reason – among others -  for PNoy to display more  flexibility and creativity  in government’s peace negotiations with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF). Government chief negotiator Marvic Leonen has all but declared that the Kuala Lumpur talks have reached a stalemate.  The simple reason for that is because the government insists on talking about socio-economic reform and development for and in the Bangsamoro region, while the MILF insists on a political settlement first and foremost.  Those are two different languages, but it is the government that’s playing deaf and dumb here, particularly on the fundamental issue of the Moro’s (and Lumads’, too) right to self-determination (RSD).

As has been correctly pointed out by the Mindanao Peaceweavers coalition, RSD is neither recognized by government  nor acknowledged or granted in the Constitution.  As long as this remains so and unchanged, the Bangsamoro question will never be resolved with any sustainable finality (despite the 1996 FPA, MNLF rebels are still roaming in the countrysides).  And as a core political principle that informs governance, the denial of RSD will continue to undercut the nation’s war (or its pretense) against poverty.

Majority of Mindanao’s political and power industry leaders oppose PNoy’s wish to further privatize the remaining power generation facilities of the National Power Corporation in Mindanao as the only economically-viable solution to the severe island-wide outages.   Mindanao’s lagging economy, caused by 40 years of war, badly needs the “comparative advantage” that comes from the lower-costing electricity generated by its hydroelectric plants. 

Mobilizing idle generating plants and other existing capacities, even if that may translate into a reasonable increase in power cost, is fine.  But constructing new, privately-owned plants fed by increasingly costly, global warming-causing fossil fuels, which the Department of Energy favors, is illogical given that Mindanao’s hydroelectric capacities can still be expanded and that renewable energy facilities are economically viable options now as well.  Unfortunately for Mindanaoans, all renewable energy projects of PNoy for the next few years are already laid out for implementation in Luzon – only.  As usual, Mindanao  can go hang.    

For Mindanao, its energy, autonomy and poverty are urgent inter-related life and death issues. Forceful, compassionate politics can jumpstart simultaneously peace  and order and inclusive economic progress.  It’s not coming from Malacanang though, as it never did and never may.  What, then, should Mindanaoans do to reclaim our peace and future?

BY: Peace Advocates Zamboanga




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