MinDA fears prolonged Russia-Ukraine war may affect Mindanao

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews / 1 March) – The ongoing war between Russia and Ukraine has a minimal impact on Mindanao for now, but it will have a bearing on the island’s economy if tension is prolonged.

Assistant Secretary Romeo Montenegro of the Mindanao Development Agency. MindaNews file photo by TOTO LOZANO

Assistant Secretary Romeo Montenegro, of the Mindanao Development Authority (MinDA), expressed fears on Tuesday that a protracted war will likely increase the price of petroleum, which may trigger an inflationary pressure and drive up transport cost.
He said it may mean exporters from Mindanao will likely get affected by weaker global demand.
In a face-to-face press conference in Davao City on Monday, Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte, who is running for vice president, said the Philippines should remain neutral on the ongoing conflict between Russia and Ukraine unless the country’s interest is at risk.
Duterte said that the Philippines is not involved in the war between the two nations and believed diplomacy must be resorted to in every international conflict.
She added that the only time when the Philippines must take sides in favor of either party is if the conflict involves the state’s interest.
“We should always remain neutral if the Philippines’ interest is not involved. The country’s interest should come first, and the only time that we take sides is if our interest is at risk,” the mayor said.
She acknowledged the need for the entire government to brace for the effect of the Russia-Ukraine tension since it will affect the country’s economy, most especially in the aspect of food security since the conflict is expected to affect the global community.
“If it is a matter of making a stand, then if I were the President I would be, at first, neutral until I am pushed against a wall to make a decision for the country,” Duterte said.
She said preparing for the impact of the war necessitated a whole of government approach because it will have a “domino effect” on the lives of many people, particularly the expected rise in the cost of living and their finances.
“With regard to the effects of the war, that is something that the national government should prepare for. The effect of wars is not a secret. We’ve seen in the previous years the effects of wars, and it is something that the national government – the whole of government should prepare for – and not just one cabinet or one secretary or one department of the government,” Duterte said.
In a statement of the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) at the Emergency Special Session of the United Nations General Assembly on Ukraine, the Philippine government voted “yes” to the UNGA resolution condemning the invasion of Ukraine.
“We appeal for the protection of civilians and civilian infrastructures. We strongly urge the cessation of hostilities; but while an offense can be stopped at will the defense cannot rest until the offense stops,” it said.
The country also called for “for massive assistance commensurate with the growing humanitarian crisis and echo the UN Secretary General’s appeal for respect of humanitarian principles to protect civilians and civilian infrastructures in Ukraine.”
It said safe access to humanitarian assistance must be “assured by the most effective means.”

“The principle of sovereignty and the sovereign equality of States is enshrined in the UN Charter. All States enjoy the right to full sovereignty in all their areas of jurisdiction. The Charter of the UN requires sovereign states to refrain from the use of force against the political independence and territorial integrity of any state,” it said.

The Philippine government also condemned the “use of separatism and secession as a weapon of diplomacy for inviting and inflicting terrible cruelties and indiscriminate killings far in excess of that of any other kind of conflict.”

“We saw this in the Balkans and in Africa,” it added.

It also called for the resort to the 1982 Manila Declaration on the Peaceful Settlement of International Disputes to “halt the ongoing tragedy for a while.” (Antonio L. Colina IV / MindaNews)