Tri-people approach to governance

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By Gingging Avellanosa-Valle

Bahin sang Bubay

Friday, May 9, 2014


IT SEEMS difficult to visualize three different cultures in a harsh setting coming together and discuss issues in the community. Although seemingly hard to believe, but the three different cultures living in the municipality of Nuro (north) Upi, a 3rd class municipality in the province of Maguindanao, Philippines exemplifies the kind of governance that practices some sort of economic inclusivity.

In a case study conducted on this one of a kind municipality by SUCCEED, Inc. in its Inclusive Economic Development in the Bangsamoro in Muslim Mindanao, Philippines, the author, Atty. Jojo Alave posits that “Cultures and traditions are the bedrock of governance,” and this was proven by Upi that believes that successful development initiatives can still be possible amidst armed conflict and cultural diversity.”

Home for Tedurays, Moros and migrant settlers from the Visayas and Luzon, Upi’s “tri-people approach to governance and conflict resolution is a unique experience which is worth replicating in many areas in Mindanao.”

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It was further noted in the study that the Mayor’s Council for instance, exemplifies how traditional form of conflict resolution can be integrated and institutionalized into the existing modern justice system. It epitomizes how peoples from different cultural backgrounds peacefully co-exist and chart their common aspirations. Now institutionalized through a local ordinance, the Council plays a pivotal role in Upi’s successful governance.

Purportedly, “with its role in mediation and conciliation as well as peace-building, it was able to resolve a number of disputes without going to court. Due to the intervention of Council members, a full-blown “rido” (clan war) was also prevented.”

With the high prospect of a peace agreement between MILF and the Philippine government, multinational and local corporations as well as local investors showed interest in the possibility of tapping Nuro Upi’s fertile land for banana, rubber, palm oil and pineapple plantations. This poses a new challenge for its “go-organic” initiatives for these investors are known for chemical-intensive production methods.

In the midst of prospects of economic benefits that these investments might bring, Nuro Upi’s mandate to preserve and protect its natural resources as well as its pursuit for sustainable development programs is facing a challenge as it will be put to a test..the study further “highly” recommended for the LGU to formulate comprehensive policies and specific guidelines on chemical-intensive plantation industries vis-à-vis its policies on organic agricultural production and environmental protection.

Moreover, “the LGU can explore and solicit the assistance from international groups and individuals in the formulation of the above mentioned policy recommendations. It would be an imperative and a great accomplishment for the LGU with the assistance of likely intentioned international partners to find a niche in the global market and industries for products and land resources developed and promoted under such stringent, people-biased and environmentally-friendly socio-cultural, political and economic structures.

Enhancement and infrastructure development for the existing local rural industries is imperative. Business plans for cooperative-run rubber processing plants, marketing and trade activities should be of immediate focus.”

Finally, the study “recommended that the LGU take a more proactive stance in fund sourcing for its activities. Instead of waiting for donors and agencies to offer grants, project funding or loan opportunities, it might be rewarding of the LGU to establish and support a mechanism with the primary role and task of formulating business plans, writing project proposals and source out funds.”

Some of these recommendations have been submitted by SUCCEED, Inc for the consideration of the Bangsamoro Transition Commission (BTC). But so far, the waiting game is far from over.

Published in the Sun.Star Davao newspaper on May 10, 2014.

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