AS AN anonymous Chinese proverb goes, “Feed a man a fish and feed him for a day; teach a man to fish and feed him for a lifetime.”

Majority of the Philippine populace, especially those who are living in Mindanao, are alarmed with the sporadic spread of innovations brought about by both the precedent and current administrations. Social, spiritual, economic, political and cultural forces were valued, and so the miniscule population were led synonymously.

Not only these developments gave a glimpse of the future, but it also provided the downsides of which what could be an island full of hopes and “promises”. And to think, the major contributor of the ever-consistent change is bounded by history. The trails of which tampered the reality that looked beneficial and unnoticeable is from the past that drew from generation to generation.

The indigenous people, or the “Lumads” were believed to be the first dwellers in the island – ceramic burial jars, Chinese celadons, shell bracelets, beads, and gold ornaments were found in the caves, evidences that the civilization started long before Islam came. And these crafts were traced to be a barter between the Subanons and the Chinese that established livelihood in the island.

When Christianity came, taking into accountability the predecessors of the Mactan battle between Filipinos and Spaniards, a seemingly corrupted ideology of separation had stepped in. Although the Muslims were fierce enough to be protecting the established religion and political system in Mindanao, there was still persistence.

After claiming the country’s independence, the Philippine government had encouraged the non-Muslims to move to the southern part of the nation, which is Mindanao. The Muslims, on the other hand, supposed a displacement method that could replace their religion, eventually making the Southern Philippines a Christian-embedded portion.

According to a peace study in the university, one of the reasons that upheld the conflicts in Mindanao is emotional divide. It is a structural influence that lurked from the deepest roots of history, up to today. This is strongly the reason why Christians have a different outlook towards Muslims, and vice versa. This is also the mere reason why up until now that even the simplest arguments that include both religions can lead to a bigger misunderstanding, and are even subject to fear.

Just when the Non-Muslims started transferring their abode down south, the Muslims have felt that they have been in descending social status, a secondary citizen next to the Catholics and Christ believers. The call for peace in nation-building is sometimes turned down because of this – not by faith, but because of the fact that these two religions have something more personal to explain and offer.

The Chinese proverb mentioned is a series of questionable reality at risk – was the separation of religion intentional? Was the purpose of moving a religion southward beneficial? Did the Philippine government deserve a gesture of gratitude from the people of Mindanao?

There is also a contrast that can realize this divide. Apart from the Muslims and Christians having this commotion, there is also an obviousness that is generally known, and that is the view from the people of the north. This is not limited to the Mindanawons being tagged or labeled as terrorists and killers, but it is also plausible that even the Non-Muslims can be treated unfairly, just because of language barriers that were moved by petty standards.

The transformation of Mindanao cannot be equated only with financial status, but it can also be tested among the old hands that tilled the soil of both perpetuity and ignorance. Because of this soil, the people were taught to hate each other. And ironically, the ideas that were fed after freedom became the hunger for dependence. (Kurt Ivan Bue)