Conflict-transformation as organic response

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By Gingging Avellanosa-Valle

Bahin sang Bubay

Sunday, December 8, 2013

TIME and again, we have proven even within the confines of the home that violence can never be the anti-thesis of itself. Though each of us have learned through the years how most of our parents seemed to believe in instilling “discipline” with the use of force or harsh punishment on us, their children, we can understand that because they themselves went through the same treatment from their own parents.

On a broader scale, government authorities have carried the same line of thought. That would explain the situations of our penal institutions. But we have also learned that far from "reforming" the imprisoned individual who has committed a grievous mistake, most often they have become "hardened" criminals, unfeeling and devoid of any human capacities after serving life in prison.

In many instances, our society too, have fashioned and dictated such practices and thoughts. Hence, unwittingly, people just act as expected. The tendency to be negative about certain issues involving conflict is a persistent attitude that is hard to dismiss. However, it is good to know that there are still certain progressive communities that have come to recognize their capacities to address their own problems by themselves, thereby peacefully co-existing among themselves even if they have differing cultural backgrounds and practices.

It is thus imperative for those among us who still believe in the innate goodness of human beings to spread the knowledge that we have learned not from books but from real time human experiences among communities with different cultural persuasions. In a recent study conducted by Succeed Inc., a non-government organization that has endeavored to find out if at all there is some kind of inclusive Economic Development in conflict-affected areas in Muslim Mindanao-Philippines (Inclined-M2P), some of these old thoughts and practices have surfaced.

One thing, however, that the Succeed has proven in its data-collection is the time-proven idea that “advancing agriculture (and fishery) development as the central strategy for inclusive economic development of the Bangsamoro, and taking smallholder development at the center stage” still holds true among different stakeholders to peace in this multi-cultural island we fondly call Mindanao.

“ shows that the growth in gross domestic product from agriculture is at least twice more effective in reducing poverty than growth from other sectors. The strategy of agricultural development is evidently relevant where the regional economy is largely dependent on agriculture (contributing 63% of RGDP), and the significant majority (68.07%) of its population rely for its livelihood and income. Moreover, agriculture development is likewise geared towards responding to food security for its people, including supply for rice, poultry, coffee, milk and cream products, etc. that the region (and even the country) has encountered deficiency of supply.”

It would seem that only those at the helm of power is missing this point, as its think-tanks come up with “grand” solutions to the centuries-old conflict situation in our beloved Mindanao only to be doused with cold water.

Of course, there are no short-cut solutions and some multi-cultural communities are not even trying to solve what they recognized as their “age-old problems.” What they are actually doing is simply opening communication lines, widening the avenues where dialogue and understanding can thrive.

Indeed, so-called power wielders need only to go and listen to its people to really come up with a workable solution that not necessarily entails so much effort or millions of pesos that more often end up even more violence. This might sound too idealistic, but then sometimes people complicate matters by considering it from the macro level than the micro, making a “mountain out of a molehill.”

Published in the Sun.Star Davao newspaper on December 09, 2013.


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