Egalitarian | A Singapore for a province

SOME camps claim that the federalization of the country is primarily economic.

The country with too many of many things cannot just let development slip by. The country has too many English-speaking residents; even the tricycle drivers are good guides to any foreigner looking for an address in the barangay. Complementing with hand gestures, the foreigner can surely find the exact spot. Compare this with our experience in South Korea last summer.
University of Mindanao executives and some staff went for a vacation in Korea last summer. The group was divided into two. The first group composed of adventurers being young and mostly “millennials” traveled a day in advance. The second group, composed of the “may linials” followed a day later, of which group I am part of.
Filled with energy to discover Seoul, the first group tried the bus. Bought a card then happily went off to capture adventure. However, to their dismay, seldom did they find a soul who can speak English well.
And here is another catch. The South Korean parents send their children to the Philippines during their semestral break for them to learn about English. They prefer Filipinos to teach their children, and they are willing to pay. This explains why you see a lot of young Koreans in the country.
The thing here is this. More than the economic opportunities of the country, we have our own culture and people to rely on the moment we shift to become a federal republic. The formation of States within the Federal Republic follows both economic and political logic.
By politics, we mean understanding the cultural and Indigenous structure that only the people within the territory understand. While very noble, yet politics cannot alone support legitimate authority unless people are given appropriate public services, so thus the urgency to blend both political designs with economic sages. There untapped resources that can be used to fund the created States within the federal republic.
I learned that a kilo of lobsters and prawns only cost eighty pesos in Tawi-Tawi. The province is also a host of many islands which offer a potential of an island resort. To maximize the opportunities of Tawi-Tawi, it will best serve to create the Tawi-Tawi Special Ecozone and Freeport which would need an estimated 20 billion investment cost.
But, one strategic advantage that Tawi-Tawi maintains is the strategic location of the municipalities of Sibutu and Simunul. In between these two municipalities is a navigational route where hundreds of shipping vessels pass daily for free by virtue of freedom of navigation principle. You can check this yourself by logging at Think that these vessels are already within the waters of the Philippines but claim innocent passage because there are no maritime handling functions offered. Navigational norms prescribed that a country can require payment for passage unless services are provided. If only, an investment is made on this part of the region, then a sure spur of economic growth will jumpstart the island provinces which will undoubtedly flow into Mindanao mainland. It is like having Singapore for a province!
Singapore with its collective facilities and terminals comprising the Sinagapore port, able to accommodate a thousand ships, and look what happened to this small country with its strategic port, limited land and natural resources, able to hold the rank as the 4th in terms of GDP. This country can also make use of its strategic location, there is only just the need to invest away from the centers. There is that push to invest in the provinces, to invest in Tawi-Tawi, the next Singapore Secretary Datu Abul Khayr Alonto as he maps out the economic spurs and strategic potentials of Mindanao being the Chairman of the development authority in Mindanao, the MinDA.

Posted in Opinion