AS Congress deliberates on the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL), legislators may want to consider other solutions besides development in the establishment of the Bangsamoro region in Mindanao because “development alone does not reduce conflict and it can actually exacerbate conflict,” an international adviser said in a recent forum.
Sam Chittick, International Adviser of the United Nations-World Bank-Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) partnership called Facility for Advisory Support for Transition Capacities (FASTRAC), said sub-national conflicts (SNCs) in Asia present a major challenge to the common assumptions about the drivers of conflict.
“Development alone does not reduce conflict in SNCs. Improvements in economic growth, state capacity, regime type and level of development do not necessarily reduce or end SNCs. Development can exacerbate conflict in SNCs. In some cases, development, growth and expanding state capacity can exacerbate conflict in SNC areas,” said Chittick during a forum titled “Development Opportunities and the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro” in Makati City (Metro Manila).
While policymakers are conducting consultations on stakeholders for the legislation of the BBL, he added that they may want to find the answers to these questions: “How can the “growth hubs” of Mindanao like Davao, Cagayan de Oro and General Santos City be a trigger for Bangsamoro growth? How can the Bangsamoro take advantage of an above per capita share of the international remittances that flow into the Philippines? How can recent improvements in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao governance provide a “head start” for the Bangsamoro? What changes will the average Mindanaoan want from the Bangsamoro? What difference will it make in their lives?”
Citing the 2011 World Development Report, the international adviser also emphasized strengthening legitimate institutions with an aim to provide citizens security, justice and jobs is crucial to break such cycles of violence, fragility and weak development.
“Expectations are high that the Bangsamoro entity will deliver security and prosperity to long-suffering population. Delivering on these expectations requires legitimate institutions,” Chittick said.