Push Mindanao progress – Kiko

October 26, 2011

Bernadette E. Tamayo
Journal Online
October 26, 2011

THE government must spend precious public funds on developing the agricultural sector and not on military operations against alleged “rogue” members of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front.

Sen. Francis Pangilinan made this appeal a day after the military launched an air strike on suspected MILF lairs in Lanao del Norte which resulted in the killing of at least 35 people.

He urged the government “to spend billions on strengthening agriculture and food production in Mindanao, as opposed to wasting precious resources that will needlessly destroy lives and property.”

“There is nothing that our country will gain by waging an all-out war against our fellow Filipinos,” said Pangilinan, chairman of both the Senate committees on agriculture and food, and social justice and rural development.

“In fact, in the four decades that we have been waging war in the south, we have already lost close to P100 billion in damage to crops, infrastructure, property, and in spending for arms and ammunition that have killed countless lives. That’s P100 billion that we could have invested elsewhere, like for agriculture and food production, education, housing, health, and other basic services,” he said.

He added: “We have neglected agriculture for decades, which is why our neighbors like Taiwan, Malaysia, South Korea, and Thailand are zooming past us while we are limping like a crippled old man. If we had, instead, focused on developing agriculture in our food basket of Mindanao, think of where we might be today.”

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