Not quite peace for investors in Mindanao, Philippines

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Investor fascination has been sparked in the southern Philippine island of Mindanao, but if security issues persist this new found attention may be fleeting.

By Justin Calderon

The recent peace framework agreement signed in late 2012 between President Benigno Aquino III’s government and the southern Islamist rebel group MILF (The Moro Islamic Liberation Front) has brought new hopes for developing the country’s second largest island, home to one of the world’s largest copper-gold deposits an a major world coconut producer, among other agricultural commodities. Geothermal energy potential is also worth musing over.

This is all smoke and mirrors thus far. Thought the agreement with MILF will officially extend autonomy to the Autonomous Muslim Region in Muslim Mindanao, a loose geographical area that already has an informal government, countless splinter groups of varying allegiances still ply through the streets of major urban centers.

While the agreement might look good in headlines, it means precious little to MILF’s rivals and the myriad other armed groups in the region. The Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Movement, a breakaway faction, has rejected the agreement, while other armed groups – some Islamists, some gangsters and many both – will pay little attention to the extended hand from Manila.

In mid-December a Malaysian citizen who allegedly had ties to the notorious Jemaah Islamiyah, an Islamic militant blamed for the Bali bombings and other attacks in Southeast Asia, was shot dead in Davao, a city of 1.4 million, the largest in Mindanao.  Before authorities took action, the suspect threatened to detonate a bomb in rucksack. Police have not elaborated on further conversations held with the man.

These kinds of flare-ups will likely be typical in a country so assimilated to violence. One recent report quotes the Metro Manila police as stating that the city’s crime rate jumped up 60 per cent in 2012, leading to accusations that President Aquino is using out-dated data to encourage his electorate of the success of his administration.

You don’t have to be an international NGO to realise that if crime and security issues are abated, business and social equilibrium will continue to be harmed.

 

 

 

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Reading Time: 2 minutes

Investor fascination has been sparked in the southern Philippine island of Mindanao, but if security issues persist this new found attention may be fleeting.

Reading Time: 2 minutes

Investor fascination has been sparked in the southern Philippine island of Mindanao, but if security issues persist this new found attention may be fleeting.

By Justin Calderon

The recent peace framework agreement signed in late 2012 between President Benigno Aquino III’s government and the southern Islamist rebel group MILF (The Moro Islamic Liberation Front) has brought new hopes for developing the country’s second largest island, home to one of the world’s largest copper-gold deposits an a major world coconut producer, among other agricultural commodities. Geothermal energy potential is also worth musing over.

This is all smoke and mirrors thus far. Thought the agreement with MILF will officially extend autonomy to the Autonomous Muslim Region in Muslim Mindanao, a loose geographical area that already has an informal government, countless splinter groups of varying allegiances still ply through the streets of major urban centers.

While the agreement might look good in headlines, it means precious little to MILF’s rivals and the myriad other armed groups in the region. The Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Movement, a breakaway faction, has rejected the agreement, while other armed groups – some Islamists, some gangsters and many both – will pay little attention to the extended hand from Manila.

In mid-December a Malaysian citizen who allegedly had ties to the notorious Jemaah Islamiyah, an Islamic militant blamed for the Bali bombings and other attacks in Southeast Asia, was shot dead in Davao, a city of 1.4 million, the largest in Mindanao.  Before authorities took action, the suspect threatened to detonate a bomb in rucksack. Police have not elaborated on further conversations held with the man.

These kinds of flare-ups will likely be typical in a country so assimilated to violence. One recent report quotes the Metro Manila police as stating that the city’s crime rate jumped up 60 per cent in 2012, leading to accusations that President Aquino is using out-dated data to encourage his electorate of the success of his administration.

You don’t have to be an international NGO to realise that if crime and security issues are abated, business and social equilibrium will continue to be harmed.

 

 

 

Do you like this post?
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