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The Official Publication of the Moro Human Rights Center Inc.


Volume 1 Issue 1

Cover Story:
More of the Same
by Erwin Francis Gaerlan

The Many Facets of Conflict Resolution
by Sophia Dimalog

by Erwin M. Gaerlan

The Universal Islamic Declaration of Human Rights

A Human Rights Framework For the Moro Struggle
by Cris M.Gaerlan, Jr.

Signs of Peace
by Sahara (Samira Gutoc)

by Faith Joan C. Mesa

News Bits
* IMAN binuo ng mga estudyante
* Moro Civilians Abducted by Military

- Jamal Matanog


Economics of War

Economics of War
(This article has been reprinted and modified from an article in the Philippine Daily Inquirer, May 10, 2000)

MINDANAO--A kilo of rice for a bullet or a bullet for a kilo of rice.

This is what the economics of the war in Mindanao amounts to.

In the 1970s, the government spent a million pesos a day in the war against the Moro National Liberation Front. Today it spends US $600,000/day to quell the rebellion in Mindanao.

Consider the following:

A kilo of the cheapest rice from the National Food Authority costs P14, about the same price as an M-16 Armalite bullet, the usual arms given to government troopers.

A 50-kg sack of rice from the NFA costs P700, enough to feed 10 families or 50 people for at least a day. An M-16 can fire 475 rounds per minute or P6,650 or 9.4 sacks of rice. An hour's firing costs P399,000, the cost of 570 sacks of rice. And that's only one soldier firing his gun for one hour.

For 20,000 soldiers, if each fires an M-16 for a minute, that's P133 million; if each fires for an hour for a week, that's P7.98 billion, which is more than twice Mindanao's agriculture budget this year.

The OV-10 Bronco aircraft drops 500-pounder bombs from the sky. The aircraft can carry six per sortie. Each bomb costs P 1 00,000. Ten bombs alone would cost a million pesos.

One 105mm howitzer costs P7,300 or a little over 10 sacks of NFA rice, enough to pay the salaries of three non-plantation agricultural workers for one month.

A thousand howitzers fired since April 28 represent P7.3 million, more than the amount required to construct a kilometer of concrete road (P7 million according to the Department of Public Works and Highways); nearly two kilometers of asphalt road (at P4 million) and about 2.5 kilometers of gravel road (at P3 million).

With P7.3 million, how many chairs, books, tables could have been provided Mindanao's kids? How many classrooms could have been built? How many health centers? How many water pumps?

Imagine what P7.98 billion could do for Mindanao.

The possibilities are endless only if government had a little more creativity. |K|