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.

map of mindanao with emphasis on Maguindanao

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.

Daniel Tiamzon of UNTV Manila was finally laid to rest, he is one of the victims in the Maguindanao massacre, was laid to rest

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.

a glimpse of the blooming Tagum City

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.

Samal Island caught by a creative lens

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.

  1. nephaine says:

    I really have to agree with your post. It is really irritating when people hastily conclude that Mindanao is a dangerous place. Despite being unable to visit the place, I have no qualms about it being one of the most beautiful places in the country as many areas are left unspoiled. This also shows how the media have unfairly reported the news about the region. Media have frequently reported more on wars and crimes that exist in a portion of the region but they often fail to recognize the good things that happen to the place. This post also reminded me of people concluding that all Muslims are evil, which of course, is untrue.

    • earlied says:

      Hi Nephaine,

      Thanks for visiting my blog and shared your own sentiments at some unfounded remarks of Mindanao. We do share similar feeling regarding the supposed role of the media. They should have used their influence to promote the country positively rather than controvertialised depressing situations or magnify minor and unnecessary issues to stain more the image of a certain region. Journalism/Media is good when used responsibly but when it goes beyond the borders, it becomes awful and seriously damaging. Secondly, I agree with you too about unfair judgment of the muslims, I had many muslim students before when I taught at a University in Davao City before and I know personally that they are just one of us with dreams in life and longed for a peaceful country. If the person has a criminal mind and tendency,he is considered dangerous (to some, evil) to the society, regardless whether that person is Muslim or Christian.