Author: Mervin Gascon

Gascon, Mervin, 2017 DEMOCRACY, GOVERNANCE, AND DEVELOPMENT IN MINDANAO, PHILIPPINES: A CRITICAL CASE STUDY, Flinders University, School of Social and Policy Studies

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This thesis explores land rights to address the challenges faced by rural Indigenous people in Mindanao, in particular the most vulnerable affected: women, young people, the elderly and differently abled in the banana and pineapple monoculture plantation communities. Case study was used to engage with the stakeholders from the 13 provinces of Mindanao. A total of 105 participants representing government agencies, non-government organisations, academia, the business sector, and local people were recruited through snowball sampling.

This thesis aims to include local people’s perspectives on human rights and social justice in the governance framework. A critical review of the existing governance framework and the extent to which local people have a democratic voice is addressed using Ulrich’s 12 boundary questions. Critical systemic approach or heuristics (CSH) is used to establish what is and ought to be the case for the Indigenous people in Mindanao.

The thesis explores the role of women in rural development planning in Mindanao. It argues that women are excluded from opportunities to participate actively in making development decisions because of the rise in multinationals who take over small farms and combine them into plantations growing only one crop. The monocultural growing techniques employed on plantations exclude women’s knowledge of diverse crops and the diverse (including wild) fauna and flora on which many Indigenous people depend for their food security.

The repression and ‘weeding out’ of women’s knowledge by multinationals builds upon the patriarchal domination of decision-making. The result is that the knowledge of women about seed diversity, wild fauna and flora is being lost. A case is made for the representation of women at the community and regional level so that women’s policy suggestions (based on their experience as farmers) is acted upon, in order to preserve diversity.

Free, prior, and informed consent does not occur. Rather, the land is taken over by multinationals or government organisations with the promise that local elites and transnational companies will help rural Indigenous people by increasing productivity.

Consequently, land deals lead to land loss, indebtedness for fertilisers and pesticides, and loss of seeds and crop varieties, resulting in destitution, anxiety/depression, and food insecurity for the rural Indigenous people.

Keywords: critical systemic thinking, rural development, indigenous people, participation, gender and development, Mindanao

Subject: Policy and Administration thesis

Thesis type: Doctor of Philosophy
Completed: 2017
School: School of Social and Policy Studies
Supervisor: Assoc. Prof. Janet McIntyre