Today I am in Mindanao, Philippines. If you mention Mindanao to any Filipino, they will shudder. Today’s paper read “21 bodies found”. After three days they have now found 58 bodies. They were all journalists and politicians who had been executed to intimidate others. They were killed all together and buried in the ground with their vehicles.
It seems interesting to me that Mindanao is far more dangerous than Cambodia. From 1975-1979 the Cambodians killed up to 3.1 million people, a massive 40% of the population in its genocide. Mindanao has had ongoing war for well over 100 years.
Cambodia is about 80% Buddhist, even if they are nominal. It has a large growing Christian population and a strong government. The Philippines has about 90% Christian (mostly nominal Catholic) population and a small muslim population. Their government: Comedy. A famous boxer is running for congress (I think he finished 5th grade). A drunk actor who was given life in prison for corruption is running for president. The current president, ignoring the constitutional term limits, is wanting to be president for life. . . utter chaos.
The Philippines has far more natural resources than Cambodia. They also have far more educated people and a huge English speaking workforce. So what is the problem? It is not religion. It is not necessarily politics. I would say it is clearly a problem of the heart.
Any country where greed, hunger for power and sin are dominant will not progress. If we can change people’s hearts toward righteousness, I think there will be hope for Mindanao!