Friday, 11 December 2009


By Earlie Doriman

I am honestly exasperated when someone asked me about the recent massacre in Maguindanao and would insist that Mindanao is certainly a dangerous place to go.  So annoying indeed when people give out a conclusion on something they don’t exactly know about or at least exert considerable efforts to read as regards to it, to get a logical picture of the whole thing.

I would suggest that those who are badly informed geographically should try to find a map and figure out how big is Maguindanao against the total land area of Mindanao. It’s a straightforward knowledge to start with before making any ignorant analysis.  Or maybe simply shut your mouth out. Well, you don’t need to ask me if I am angry, do you? Would it be intelligent to say that Luzon is an illegal drug sanctuary because of the many shabu laboratories raided in Cavite? Or is it fair to declare Visayas as Arroyo country if she only got massive votes in Cebu? And so it is mediocrity to call Mindanao a dangerous place if the facts reveal that only a small part of the island has armed conflicts, and where unfortunately the recent massacre happened in only one of its provinces.

Yes, Filipinos are all morally and emotionally affected by the carnage in Maguindanao killing more than 50 people, and we strongly call the attention of the government to provide justice where justice is due, put the criminals in the cold bars, and arrest those who are still walking freely under the loads of deceiving disguise.

If it is the Ampatuans, then they shall pay the right price of their barbaric actions and the Arroyo government should be serious in resolving this matter. While the Filipino people are eager to know the truth, the whole world is watching too.

Let me go back to the main issue above. Mindanao is the second largest island of the Philippine Archipelago having a total land area of 94,630 square kilometres.  This southern island is generally mountainous, and is home to country’s highest mountain – Mt APO. It is surrounded by larger body of water with the Philippine Sea on the east, the Sea of Sulu to the west, and on the southern part lies the expanse of Celebes Sea. There are six administrative regions that composed Mindanao namely: DAVAO REGION,SOCCSKSARGEN, CARAGA REGION, ARMM, NORTHERN MINDANAO, and ZAMBOANGA PENINSULA.  From this political divisions, Maguindanao is one of the provinces of ARMM or the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao with a total population of more than 4 million which is less than 20 percent of the overall Mindanao population.  While some part of the ARMM is admittedly war-torn and Abu Sayyaf infested, other areas are generally peaceful and harmonious.
On a finer view, Mindanao is home to many beautiful places and tourists favourites.  For one, it is the address to the most peaceful and liveable city in the Philippines and one of the best in Asia-Davao City.  It is the place of the proud city of Manny Pacquiao- General Santos City. The beautiful city of smile-Cagayan de Oro, the blooming city of Tagum, the gold capital province of Compostela Valley, the Island Garden City of Samal, and many other places where both local and foreign tourists frequents.
Mindanao is not at all the Abu Sayyaf hideout as is always portrayed in tabloids and television, and the Ampatuans do not own this place.

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