Lidasan: Is Mindanao independence the solution to our problems?


Poverty, inequality, and lack of access to resources or opportunities can lead to dissatisfaction and fuel citizens to rebellion and want to secede from one’s country.

Former Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has announced the Mindanao Independence Movement, with former House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez as its leader. Fed up with being left behind in development and the Manila bureaucracy, Duterte emphasized a peaceful secession process through legal means and consultation with the people. This announcement was triggered by the move of the Congress to amend the 1987 Philippine Constitution via the People’s Initiative.

FPRRD clarified that this was not the start of a rebellion, but rather a continuation of the advocacy of Mindanaons.

History will tell us that starting from the Mindanao Independence Movement (MIM) of Ruben Canoy, there has been a growing sentiment among Mindanaons that the current state of affairs in the Philippines is not benefiting the region. Many Mindanaons believe that a lack of progress is holding them back.

Mindanaons has experienced historical periods of repression, including during the time of Former President Marcos, Sr.’s dictatorship from 1972 to 1986. Some supporters of independence came from the Moro groups arguing that greater self-governance would help ensure that Mindanao’s history is accurately recognized and acknowledged.

Mindanao needs to have more investors and concrete economic development programs.

However, it is worth noting that the US Travel Advisory has categorized Mindanao island as Level 3 (Reconsider Travel) - meaning it is not safe to travel in Mindanao. According to the US State website, “terrorists and armed groups continue to conduct kidnappings, bombings, and other attacks targeting U.S. citizens, foreigners, civilians, local government institutions, and security forces.” Thus, Mindanao is seen differently from the rest of the islands.

Mindanao is one of the wealthiest regions in our country and contributes significantly to our GDP. Supporters of independence argue that Mindanao has been financially supporting other regions and would be better off managing their own resources and investments.

While some have expressed a desire for secession, others see an opportunity to leverage the region’s abundant natural resources for economic growth.

As part of academia, before our country turns to civil unrest, it is important to find constructive ways to address these concerns and work towards a more prosperous future for all Filipinos in Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao. Political dialogue should be the way of moving forward.


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