The war in Mindanao has been happening in ages. It is even considered the second longest-running conflict in the world. Eversince I was a child, I hear news about the war and violence happening in some parts of Mindanao. This is the reason why I grew up thinking that Mindanao is that part of the country with widespread violence. I consider the war and violence in Mindanao as the reasons why most of the parts of Mindanao are undeveloped and still stuck in poverty. Other than that, I often relate religion and the violence in Mindanao. I thought that the main reason why there’s violence in Mindanao is because of the conflict between Christians and Muslims. But, as I mature and as I start to read more about the conflict in Mindanao, I started to realize that the war isn’t really about Religion.
The movie was able to show that love can still be seen between a Muslim and a Christian through the parents of the filmmaker. Eventhough that they are now separated, both parties don’t deny that they did love each other. The father of the filmmaker even mentioned that he doesn’t care whether his former wife as a Christian or Muslim. He cited individual differences as the reason why they separated and not their conflicting religious beliefs. After seeing a real example of harmony between a Christian and a Muslim, I got more convinced that religion plays a small role not only in war but in other relationships and connections we have with other people. Religion is no longer an issue. I realized that thinking that religion is the reason why there’s a war in Mindanao is inappropriate.
I agree with the father of Adjani Arumpac that the cause of war, like many other problems of this country, is politics. Religion is just one of the many reasons behind the never ending conflict in Mindanao. Because of the lack of support and assistance from the government, the people of Mindanao felt belittled and ignored. For a long time, both Muslims and Christians have been struggling because of being displaced from time to time. This made the people of Mindanao more eager to fight for their freedom and Mindanao’s separation from the Philippines. But despite this, I agree with the father of the Adjani Arumpac when he said that the Mindanaoans’ goal of separation of Mindanao from the Philippines is impossible. The government won’t let go of Mindanao because of its rich natural resources and because of the potential of its economy. I also agree that no leader who’s in the right mind will be willing to be denoted as that person in Philippine history who separated Mindanao from the Philippines. After several hundreds of years, I think that our country still doesn’t have the leader who’s willing to give the Mindanaoans what they want. I think that negotiations, like what PNoy’s administration did, will continue and that the separation of Mindanao from the Philippines is still far from reality. What the government offers is a temporary solution and as long as the land is not given to the Mindanaoans, the cycle of war, negotiation and temporary peace will continue. Mindanaoans will continue to struggle, new conflicts will emerge and violence will persist.
Edward A. Diaz