Posted by: luvin | August 3, 2008

A Sigh of Disbelief

I was born and grown in N.Cotabato, Mindanao. This is my place. My roots is here no matter what I do. I refused the temptation to migrate to the colder (greener) pasture, even when the present day diaspora has become the in thing. I have seen and experienced the upside of leaving in a developed country, and I will not be hypocritical to say that I like it and hope that someday we will experience the same amenities and opportunities here in our country.

My grandfather was a former US navy, who was captivated by the enchanting beauty and potential of Mindanao. They stayed near the Liguasan Marsh, in a place now called M’lang, cleared the land for settlement and future agricultural enterprise, battled mosquitos and wild animals. Their adventures, stories and personal struggles is similar with the book Chesapeake, by James Mischener-that tells of the lives of the early settlers in Chesapeake Bay.

There were no infrastructure then, no buildings, no market place, no road. My older relatives told me that my grandfather draw the road sketch for some of the major streets of the locality. They said the wide street now leading to the municipal hall was patterned after one famous street in New York where he stayed for several years.

He dreamed big for his new found Eden, unfortunately an incident intervened. In one of those ordinay days, his carabao-which they used as a utility animal,  suddenly went wild, swung its horn and hit my grandfather’s chest. Because during those premitive times, there were no hospital in M’lang, they can not attend to his wounds. After five days, he died due to massive loss of blood.

With the demise of my grandfather, the family slowly lost what they have. The unfortunate WW II, make their lives even worst. The family would move from M’lang to Cotabato City, to Pagalungan, back to M’lang, to Pigcawayan, and back again to M’lang. What I am trying to say is that  we have our footprints all over Mindanao. And during all those times, my relatives have interacted with the moros and lumads of the islands.

I grew up with the moros. I have moro friends, classmates, relatives who have cross marriages with the moros. Many associates of mine have similar relationship, and we have no problem with that. We have learned to respect and live with them. I am not against the moros, but I am against the method by which some of the moro groups have resorted to, to attain their political goals. And I am outraged by the way the national government is disregarding our sentiments.

Now that the list of villages and municipalities is out, and some contentious issues is in the open, it can be said that National Government is doing a disservice to us Mindanaoan. Since the negotiators are more enclined to cave in to the whims of one group, I would suggest two things.

Expand the Moro Juridical Entity to cover the whole of Mindanao (and they could also include the whole Palawan island); and second, do not give the blanket authority of governance to the moros only. The lumads and non moros should have equal opportunity to the seat of power.

After all the outburst, I can only murmur a sigh of disbelief.

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