The Maranaw political swamp
By : Alexander Mangorsi Mindanao Today/12:35:10pm 09/06/2021
By Alexander Mangorsi
Revisiting poverty in Lanao: The Maranaws are not poor
WHAT is Poverty? Why is it that Lanao del Sur has been considered to be the country's poorest province?
Is it a fact or a mere statistical data? Is poverty caused by the misrule, corruption, incompetence or the lack of vision of our leaders?
Or is it because of our electoral and political culture? Or is it because of the peace and order problem in the area, or the lack of business opportunities, vital infrastructures or d dismal or stagnant economic developments in the area?
Essentially, poverty refers to the lack of enough or sufficient resources to provide each person with the very basic necessities of life – money, food, clean water, electricity, shelter and clothing.
At present, poverty has also been understood as to include the absence of hope, income and opportunities, a glaring reflection of injustice, inequality, violence and extreme disparity of wealth between the rich and the poor in every society.
In Lanao del Sur, poverty has been the highest incidence among all provinces in the country for a number of years now.
Though this statistical observation may not really reflect the actual facts or situation on the ground because the province and Marawi city, even at this very moment are so replete with all the latest luxurious vehicles around, businesses of all kinds have crammed all the major streets and thoroughfares, and grandeur social events are taking place here there as if the Maranaos have already moved on from the harsh effects of the Marawi siege and this pandemic.
I think what makes the province poor is not the perceived poverty, destitution or impoverishment of its people.
The Maranaws are not really poor; you never see a true Maranao begging for food or money. He would rather die than doing it.
What makes the province poor, I believe, is the culture of governance, absence of vital and essential communication, financial and economic infrastructures and the lack of absolute or sustainable peace and order situation in d area which are essential and crucial to ensure local, national and international investors' confidence in the economic and business viability and opportunities in Marawi and the province.
Undoubtedly, what the Maranaos need to invigorate or rejuvenate the province into a strong, united, progressive and developed society is a top and bottom-based cultural, educational, socio, economic and political reform and constructive moral regeneration debunking exposures to religious extremism.
The Maranaws’ governance: Is it half-cooked or not?
It’s time we should have the courage and fortitude to admit that the Maranaws as a community have already breached the red flag of political stagnation.
We have entered the highest summit and pinnacle of political whirlpool.
Vote-buying and massive political corruption, poverty, stagnation and underdevelopment have become the only dominant, endemic, relentless and powerful cycles that characterize the Maranaw polity for more than 67 years.
The Maranaw political swamp
Our polity has been sick and disease-ridden by a continuing and enduring facades of injustice and disparity, massive political corruption and moral degeneration, poverty and destitution, poor economic development and infrastructures backlog; criminalities, investment scams, drug peddling, embezzlement and plunder, the rise of fanaticism and extremism, and so on.
The political elites
The few, the strongest and the well-established Maranaw political elites have long ruled and governed our community with absolute monopoly of power, with massive wealth in their hands, government money and machineries, the instruments of violence and the right connection with the highest echelon of political power in the country – the IRA, national and countrywide development funds and other infrastructures and assistance funds, reconstruction and rehabilitation funds for Marawi and now the BARMM’s block grant have just emboldened every crook, shrewd and hellion politician in our community.
Political reform not possible for another 10 years
The Maranaws have to wait for another decade or even beyond to witness a true and real “draining of the political swamp or political reform” in our community.
In this political swamp or political quagmire, politicians have become completely shameless and deceiving instrumentalists.
Corruption, plunder, and continuing embezzlement of government money has become d most dominant currency in our polity.
And the Maranaw general electorate have also been a part of this cancerous political morass because of their unbridled attitude of selling their votes for cash.
The crooks and felons
For the non-reformers, mostly crooks and felons, the goal is to reach the top at all cost.
For people like us, that is where we can operate – shaping the minds of the Manaraws, we have to change the ball game, the rules. How? It's an evolution – we don’t have the clear shot as of the present.
Allah will choose through enlightenment one day a set of men who will do the jobs. Who? We exactly do not know!
Because what we have now at the present are a multitude of our people who, for decades, have been reduced to a mere group of passive spectators, submissive observants and powerless audiences while our society, our dignity and pride as Maranaws were being annually tarnished, stained and smeared by the most flagrant and visible façade of massive corruption, incompetence and absolutely inept leadership among the current Maranaw ruling political elites.
Politics need revision
The purpose of politics is to enable the people of a nation to live in safety and happiness.
Politics exists for the interests of the governed, not for the governors, congressmen and mayors or barangay chairmen.
“Even if a dog dies of hunger on the banks of the river of Euphrates, I will be responsible for dereliction of duty,” says Umar Al Khatab.
Our leaders should not hesitate to use the resources of the province, city or municipality and firmly invest in social and other essential facilities and infrastructures benefiting the poor – farm to market roads, bridges, power supply, efficient irrigation systems, government hospitals, more public schools, rural development banks to finance activities and livelihood programs designed help generate more employment and income in their area of jurisdiction to help reduce poverty incidence.
Our governance must also ensure that its power and mandate are not chained and shackled by the rich and powerful politicians.
The governance has the duty to ensuring that the fruits of growth are spread more evenly and that economic goals are balanced with the collective welfare and interest of the poor.
(Alexander Tomawis Mangorsi is the admin of the Bangsamoro Policy Caucus Facebook page. The Bangsamoro Policy Caucus is an internet-based policy advocate for issues of indispensable relevance and significance to the common welfare and collective good of the Moro People.)