Olongapo SubicBay BatangGapo Newscenter

Monday, January 19, 2009

Gordon urges change of Mindanao image

INDEPENDENT Senator Richard Gordon urged local executives from Mindanao to turn around the negative image of the region from being the “Wild West of the Philippines” into a premier tourist destination with its unique history and culture.

At the same time, Gordon said that they will abide by the “no ransom policy” in the latest Sulu kidnapping involving three members of the International Committee of the Red Cross.

He also appealed to the kidnappers not to hurt the victims Swiss Andreas Notter, Italian Eugenio Vagni and Filipina Mary Jean Lacaba.

In a meeting with officials of the Regional Development Council (RDC) of Region 12 and Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM), Gordon said with good governance, Mindanao’s poor image would soon be a thing of the past.

“There is no governance in area. Schools are decrepit; roads are bad; farm-to-market roads are non-existent and there is no focus on helping them solving their problem, or empowering them so they can conquer their own selves,” he said.

The senator said that it is a question of assertion on the part of the regional government to make it a point to put their resources, energy and focus to promote genuine change, continuity and closure to the perennial problems in Mindanao.

Mindanao has gained a negative reputation in the international media as the country’s “Wild, Wild West” due to the continued spate of kidnappings, sporadic bombings, and the poor peace and order situation.

The Senate tourism committee chairman also pointed out that the people of Mindanao should not wait for the national government, which is thousands of miles away, to take the initial steps towards lasting peace and development of Mindanao.

“You should define what Mindanao is and assert yourselves as a people. Manila is never going to solve it for us. It is never going to be a solution. Mindanao should be self-sufficient,” he said. By: Marlon Purificacion - Journal online

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