DAVAO CITY (MindaNews/ 16 January) – Poor governance resulting in faulty implementation of government programs and security issues are seen as among the leading problems in Moro areas, according to a consolidated report on the visioning workshops for the Bangsamoro.
The workshops, facilitated by the UNDP-backed Insider Mediators, aimed to come up with a unified vision for the emerging political entity that will replace the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao once the Bangsamoro Law is ratified in a plebiscite slated on January 21 and February 6.
Workshop participants coming from various groups and sectors attributed the problems to graft and corruption, nepotism or favoritism in hiring government workers, and absence of transparency and accountability.
“People are being trained to become beggars, e.g. vote-buying during elections. They’re treated as just voters not masses who deserve good governance. Leaders want the people to remain poor for easier control,” one of the groups said.
The report cited the lack of agriculture-related infrastructures such as post-harvest facilities and farm-to-market roads.
It also mentioned the lack of water system, electricity, health and other social services, and low-cost housing.
For health, it said the problems include either poor medical services or the absence of it, as well as stunting, diseases and other effects of undernutrition.
In one session, the participants recommended that aside from a pre-audit infrastructure projects must undergo a post-audit to ensure that standards and prescriptions are being followed. They noted that “many roads have short lifespans, some lasting only two years.”
“Infra projects have failed because the design implemented did not follow the plan. This is caused by ‘cuts’ (unauthorized but tolerated) from the highest to the lowest official involved in them,” they said.
The report cited violent extremism, terrorism and rido (clan feud) as among the leading security problems in the Bangsamoro.
Marawi City, capital of Lanao del Sur, sustained heavy damage from bombing sorties by the Philippine military during the five-month siege of Islamic State-inspired militants in 2017. Rehabilitation of the country’s lone Islamic city is yet to start after the groundbreaking ceremony late last year.
Other parts of the ARMM and neighboring provinces had experienced bombing incidents using improvised explosive devices staged by suspected terror groups.
The report said conflicts also arise due to land disputes, kidnapping and election-related violence.
Advocates of the Bangsamoro Law said that while it could not solve all the problems in the region it would help address the phenomenon of violent extremism.
The visioning workshops were held in November last year. The participants came from areas covered by the Bangsamoro and those outside the region with sizeable Moro populations.
Lumads or indigenous peoples living in the Bangsamoro were also represented. (H. Marcos C. Mordeno/MindaNews)