Friday, August 20, 2004

The landlessness of the Muslim people
Eric Gutierrez and Saturnino Borras Jr present an economic interpretation of the insurgency in Mindanao in The Moro Conflict: Landlessness and Misdirected Policies. They argue that it is landlessness that is at the root of the problem. Unfortunately, according to the authors, landlessness never figured prominently as a strategic issue in all the government's negotiations with both the MNLF and the MILF. The CARP also did not solve the problem and, arguably, has even exacerbated it by giving preference to actual farmhands ( usually Christians who have earlier displaced Muslims and lumad ) tilling the land.

If landlessness is such a central issue as Gutierrez and Borras say it is, then what explains the benign neglect of our peace negotiators ? A simple case of middle-age absent-mindedness perhaps ?

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