All bark, no bite
By Taipan Millan
One Small Voice
THERE WAS plenty of talk about a so-called Marshall Plan for Mindanao. The idea was copied, albeit in much smaller terms that there is mention of the word Mini, from the huge US effort to rebuild Europe after the Second World War.
The concept is that a plan shall be drawn to implement in Mindanao a set of programs and projects focusing on infrastructure, education, and other major concerns.
The scheme is that this plan shall be funded by countries like the US and those in Europe, Southeast Asia, and other rich nations. It shall be massive in scale so as to immensely fast track rehabilitation and substantially jumpstart development.
Coming from no less than the Speaker of the House, with an accompanying commitment of allocating a counterpart fund, this is indeed music to the ears.
Thus, almost immediately after the grand pronouncement, the Mindanao block of the House threw its full support to the idea, echoing the possibility that this might just be what will finally make Mindanao the "Land OF Fulfillment" instead of the plain, old "Land of Promise."
But after issuing these very hopeful statements, nothing has been heard of any plan, Marshall or otherwise. This is of course not to say that nothing has come out of the idea. We may one day be surprised by a sudden barrage and bombardment of money for anything and everything. We wish.
But this early, there are observations that we must hope are false because they are threatening to make Mindanao the "Land of Unfulfilled Promises."
First, there is no such existing plan at all, and no individual or group has been seriously tasked or sincerely assigned to come up with such plan.
Second, there are currently no donors or sponsors who have signified support for such a plan that currently does not exist, and no official call or formal solicitation has been made to raise said funds.
Third, aside from the initial motherhood statements, the Speaker of the House has neither repeated nor reiterated the idea even at least to mention the source of the counterpart funds that he has committed.
And aside from the general avowal of support, the Mindanao block of the House has not followed up or followed through with the idea, even at least to mention that they will pour in their pork barrel or a part of it for this effort.
Fourth, given that this idea was hatched in the first place in relation to the never-ending armed conflict, it is not even clear if the use of the word Mindanao covers the whole island or just those areas where there is or was war, or if it refers to the fight against separatists, secessionists, insurgents or terrorists.
Fifth, considering that corollary to this idea is the grant of a general amnesty for all combatants and enemies of the state, it is not even sure if both parties are amenable to this arrangement of one party admitting to the commission of a crime and the other party forgiving without punishment.
There are countless of other observations that can be identified but the above are enough to cast a doubt as to the ultimate realization of this so-called Marshall Plan for Mindanao.
This is not being negative and pessimistic. This is being truthful and realistic.
Hopefully, something will come out of this idea other than just raising our hopes and just lifting our expectations. Hopefully, this will not end up like all the countless other plans that have been let loose? All bark, no bite.