Duterte to bring social justice to Mindanao—AdDu head
DAVAO CITY, Philippines—Mindanaoans are excited in a Rodrigo Duterte presidency as this will bring social justice to “neglected” Mindanao, the president of a Jesuit-run university here has said.
“In Mindanao, the so called Manila imperialism is felt over many years and you can say over centuries,” Ateneo de Davao University (AdDu) President Fr. Joel Tabora S.J. told INQUIRER.net in an exclusive interview last Sunday.
Tabora, a prominent member of the clergy and highly regarded academic, said the policies of the national government have benefited Luzon and Metro Manila but neglected Mindanao.
“If you look at the statistics, relative to poverty in the Philippines today, I think we have something like 70 percent poor in the Manila area, and in the Visayas it becomes 30 percent, in Mindanao it becomes 40 percent but in Muslim Mindanao (it) is almost 60 percent,” he said.
While government policies have “begun to solve the problems well in Metro Manila, (they have) really neglected Muslim Mindanao and Mindanao in general.”
Tabora said a Duterte presidency would bring “a very clear social justice” to issues like the exploitation of resources in Mindanao.
“We’re going to have [a] look at how the economy has been run by the north to the disadvantage of Mindanaoans and how politics [has] been played also against the Mindanaoans and even the use of the military. The perception of many Mindanaoans—is that the military defends the interest of the north rather than the interest of all,” he said.
Tabora said Mindanaoans were happy that they now have a national leader.
“He’s ours. In a sense, he’s ours. People from Mindanao are saying, finally we have a Mindanaoan president. He’s ours but I think we all know he’s not ours in the sense we don’t own him. We know that we cannot manipulate this guy. He has his own way, he has his own style and he uses his own words,” he said.
“Mindanaoans are happy that they now have a president who loves Mindanao so much he doesn’t even wanna go there (Manila). He wants to govern from here, which is an endearing sign for the Mindanaoans,” he added.
Tabora said Duterte could lead a genuine peace agreement for the country.
“We really believe that President Duterte can lead the country to a genuine peace agreement with the Muslims,” he said.
“We are convinced that he understands the Muslim situation and that he can read political forces within the Muslim groups better than most leaders, most national leaders in the country,” he added.
He said a peace agreement under the Duterte government would be more inclusive.
“It will be complex and it will probably take a different shape than it took under (Benigno) Aquino (III) because the President is sensitive to the MILF (Moro Islamic Liberation Front) but also the MNLF (Moro National Liberation Front),” he said. RAM/rga
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