IN DECEMBER last year, along with a handful of personnel, we completed the Mindanao study on trust, respect, safety, security, and satisfaction.
The study is expected to regularly measure the people’s perception of their lived experiences of safety and security and create a map showing the Mindanao safety landscape.
It is important to measure Mindanao’s safety because the island is a favorite victim of negative impressions, false claims, and nefarious projections.
Look, when a shooting happens in Mindanao, which happens everywhere across the globe, travel advisories to Mindanao are issued immediately.
It is a disservice to the many endeavors to bring peace and development to Mindanao when a remote incident is reported as if it covers the whole island.
People outside of Mindanao, or those who have not been here, are confused with Mindanao’s geography. The island is a bit smaller than South Korea, much larger than Hungary, Portugal, and Austria in Europe. These are countries the size of Mindanao.
And I have the science to prove that Mindanao is safe, that Mindanao is peaceful.
With more than 7,000 participants in a recently completed study of the Mindanao Development Authority, from January to February 2023, Mindanao obtained an 88 percent safety rating. This is 4 percentage points higher than the 2020 Bicol Region study, which reported 84 percent safety, and way higher than the 2017 NAPOLCOM where NCR posted 53.5 percent public safety.
In addition, the MinDA study also found out that the safest provinces are Basilan in BARMM, Zamboanga Sibugay in Western Mindanao, Iligan City and Lanao del Norte in Northern Mindanao, Davao del Norte in Davao Region, Sultan Kudarat and South Cotabato in SOCCSKSARGEN Region, and Agusan del Sur in Caraga.
This is the science to prove that Mindanao is a safe haven for investments, travel, and living.
The many foreign nationals who have built a life and poured investments over the years and the public safety and security officers who committed their lives for peace are the living testaments of how safe Mindanao is today.
That is why we have to communicate the fruits of peace and development. We have to communicate with logic and science the ground realities. We have proven that development assures peace, and peace accelerates development.
And when harmony is disrupted, we have to communicate that disruptions happen anywhere in the world. Why would Mindanao be singled out and seen uniquely with it?
When it happens in Mindanao, in fact, there is nothing to worry about as these punctuations to security are remote and distant in between.
What is true and evident in Mindanao today is its peace. The peace has its dividends in the form of increasing investor confidence, frequent tourist travel, and the safe and satisfied living of its people.
We have to tell the compelling story of Mindanao— the story of peace, bounty, and beauty.
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