Better to light a little candle…

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By Gingging Avellanosa-Valle

Bahin sang Bubay

Saturday, February 8, 2014

AS THE saying goes, “don’t judge a book by its cover…” However, most of the time, a gift is sized up with the kind of wrappings it is covered.

Whatever the old proverb say, for us Filipinos, the appearance of anything matters a lot, whether we admit it or not. Only very few people would care to honestly accept the fact that something’s or someone’s worth is often equated by how it or the person presents itself or oneself.

That is why, curious as it may seem, we always have the least of tendencies to carefully scrutinize an object or person first before making any conclusive statements to back up our claim, because most often, we tend to let our ‘emotions’ get the better of us.


But there are exceptions to the rule. The case study on the Local Government-led Inclusive Economic Development in Conflict-affected areas in Muslim Mindanao, Philippines (INCLINED-M2P), which was tackled in this column some days back was written by Mr. Nielo Tingzon who is currently connected with the Sustainable Cooperation for Equitable Economic Development, Inc. (SUCCEED, Inc.)

The province of Maguindanao has often been depicted in the mass media as ‘depressed areas’ where lawlessness ruled over all, especially after the infamous “Ampatuan Massacre” or touted as “Maguindanao massacre”. Most often, even if only one town is involved in the incident, people living miles away from the place where tragedy took place tend to believe that the whole province is affected.

Again, this is due to the inadequacy of reportage that has failed to clearly cite the breadth of the effects to particular communities and tend to give generalizations perhaps just to drive home the point.

The fact is, the two local government units of Parang and Upi have exemplary practices in governance that literally made these LGUs stand out against all odds. It is through such painstaking efforts at unearthing and documenting these hidden gems in the seemingly chaotic setting that the real situation is brought out into the light.

Some people thought it would be more fitting to document the “negative”, the non-performance and the failure among the decrepit LGUs in the province, missing out on the wisdom of pointing out the gems that shines above the whole exercise. It is always easy to blame and point out the ‘bad’, the undesirable, because it hurts the psyche of society. And more often, people have the tendency to magnify the pain just like in teleseryes, and to cry over spilt milk.

In so doing one misses the lessons that are more important for others to learn from. The case studies that were done the previous year are written accounts of successes from the different sectors included in the process, which include the private sector, the Cooperatives, the Local Government Units and the non-Government organizations. Most of these organizations have, in one way or another, been part of efforts that has made economic development more inclusive for the Bangsamoro in Mindanao.

The studies clearly documented the various efforts and situations of the case owners situated in Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) on how these organizations have attained a certain level of confidence and knowledge on how their efforts in conflict areas have contributed to the betterment of the communities they are serving.

Indeed, “tis better to light a candle than curse the darkness…”

Published in the Sun.Star Davao newspaper on February 08, 2014.


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