A POLITICAL analyst said it is "impossible" for Mindanao to secede from the Philippines for now due to various factors.
Ateneo de Davao University (AdDU) political analyst Prof. Ramon Beleno III told SunStar Davao in a phone interview that it would be challenging considering that Mindanao is a "culturally diverse" island.
"Medyo very impossible siya… (It’s quite impossible) " Beleno said.
"Unang-una pa lang, patungkol sa government, anong kind of government meron tayo? Sino magle-lead ng government na 'yon? (First of all, what kind of government would we have? Who will lead that government?)," he added.
The political analyst said that a certain island or area that is pushing to be a separate country must have the capacity to self-govern.
As of now, the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (Barmm) is the only autonomous region in the country, which was inaugurated in 2019.
According to Beleno, an autonomous area is defined as an area of a country that has a degree of autonomy, or has freedom from an external authority. It is typical for it to be geographically distant from the country, or to be populated by a national minority.
The autonomous areas differ from federal units and independent states in the sense that they, in relation to the majority of other sub-national territories in the same country, enjoy a special status including some legislative powers, within the state.
These areas are given the liberty to utilize funding and implement projects without seeking approval from the national government.
Although he said Barmm is not yet totally "autonomous" despite being given leeway to govern themselves.
"Pag tayo ay gagawa ng isang (If we are going to form a) nation or state, dapat kailangan united as one tayo. Hindi 'yung medyo hati-hati tayo (we need to be united as one, not being divided by our own belief)," he said.
The analyst said that the Philippines, despite being a sovereign state, is still having problems governing.
He also raised concerns about Mindanao’s recognition as a state if it would materialize.
While Mindanao is considered to be rich in natural resources, Beleno said that the island, if pushed into a separate state, needs to get additional resources such as monetary and human capital.
"Eh ando'n po lahat sa Metro Manila. So, anong gagawin natin sa ating mga raw materials na hindi na naman natin napo-process, at wala din naman tayong monetary resources para i-process ito (All of the resources are in Metro Manila. What should we do with our raw materials if we won’t have the monetary resources and capacity to process it," he said.
He raised Mindanao's lack of infrastructure resources, which are being sourced from the national.
Former President Rodrigo Duterte revealed his plans to revive the Mindanao initiative, which includes lobbying for the island of Mindanao to secede from the Republic of the Philippines.
During a press conference at the Grand Men Seng Hotel in Pichon Street (formerly Magallanes Street), Davao City on the evening of January 30, 2024, Duterte said he wants to "regroup" the Mindanao leaders to be led by former House Speaker and current Davao del Norte First District Representative Pantaleon "Bebot" Alvarez to push for the Mindanao initiative.
This is due to his huge disappointment in how the past and current administrations use the resources and the taxpayers' money.
"One Mindanao tayo, iparaan natin sa proseso na (let's create it through a process that is) legal, there is such thing as a body that would hear your petition to secede, and explain that. Mag-survey sila, mag-plebisito, kung manalo (Let them do the survey then have a plebiscite, if we win), if it's valid, sabihin ko man yung pera namin inubos nitong 'yawa' na ito, ginagastos lang. Kayaman na natin dito, yung mina nandito, ang mining nandito (I will tell them 'our money is just being exhausted by this devil who is spending it carelessly. Mindanao is rich, the mine is here, the mining is here)," Duterte said.
He added that he really wanted Mindanao to be independent, “kasi ilang presidente na eh, walang nangyari sa Pilipinas (because several presidents have come and gone but nothing has happened to the Philippines).”
Beleno said that Duterte's statement was just brought about by his frustration.
Why so sudden?
He said the concept is so sudden that it still needs consultation and time for it to materialize.
"Sa ngayon biglaan eh. (It’s quite sudden.) Just because of what is happening right now with the national politics, eh sasabihin nating hihiwalay na tayo, parang (we will declare our intention to separate, it’s) out of nowhere,” he said
"Ano ba 'yung basis natin? Dahil sa (What’s our basis? Just because) we're having disagreements with some of the people in the national government kaya hihiwalay tayo (that’s why we’re seceding)? Parang medyo mali naman 'yun (That’s quite not right)," he added.
While he said that it is still possible, the analyst said that the island must have a developed infrastructure and financial capacity.
"And then 'yung ating (Also, our) way of thinking is already leading towards being independent and autonomous," he said.
Beleno suggested that having a federal type of government is the solution to address the concerns of Mindanao.
Federalism is a mode of government that combines a general government (the central or "federal" government) with regional governments (provincial, state, cantonal, territorial, or other sub-unit governments) in a single political system, dividing the powers between the two.
Beleno said that this would give equal wealth distribution to all parts of the country. He also said this would address the political dynasty.