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CrisisWatch Database

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135 results found
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Philippines

  |  1 Dec 2014

Unchanged

Consultations on Bangsamoro Basic Law, required for creation of new Bangsamoro region, continued. Addressing Philippine Develolpment Forum early month, senior govt official said $5bn needed for development of Bangsamoro until 2016. MILF early month reported to be finalising organisation of political party for 2016 national elections, United Bangsamoro Justice Party. Attacks blamed on breakaway group opposing MILF-govt peace deal continued: two killed by Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) mortar shell in Pikit 14 Nov. BIFF also suspected in other attacks including bomb in M’lang, North Cotabato 23 Nov, killing three. Three soldiers killed by BIFF in Maguindanao 17 Nov. Five govt soldiers, ten Abu Sayyaf group (ASG) killed in clashes in Sulu, southern Philippines 14 Nov. At least five suspected ASG rebels reported killed by govt soldiers in offensive in Basilan 23 Nov. One soldier wounded in clash with ASG 22 Nov. BIFF also suspected after bomb exploded in Kabacan, North Cotabato 16 Nov killing one.

Philippines

  |  1 Nov 2014

Unchanged

Month saw signs of progress toward passing Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL): National Security Council 21 Oct proposed accelerating passage through Congress, said autonomy for Bangsamoro people would help calm radical ideology in Mindanao. Suspect in 2003 Awang, Maguindanao airport bombing and Feb 2005 Manila bombing, Ricardo Ayeras, arrested 7 Oct; officials alleged arrest foiled plot to bomb Manila metro. Militant attacks continued throughout month: Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) 2 Oct killed one police, two soldiers in separate attacks in Datu Piang; two New People’s Army militants killed 14 Oct in clash with army in Davao Occidental. Suspected Abu Sayyaf militants detonated two bombs in Basilan’s Isabella City 17 Oct, no causalities; Abu Sayyaf 17 Oct released two Germans after six months captivity, reportedly in exchange for ransom; thirteen other hostages remain. Seventeen police officers, among 196 accused of Nov 2009 massacre in Maguindanao, allowed to post bail 15 Oct. National Democratic Front-Philippines Negotiating Panel Chairperson Luis Jalandoni 20 Oct said high-level govt delegation set to discuss possible resumption of peace negotiations after collapse of talks in Feb 2013.

Philippines

  |  1 Oct 2014

Unchanged

Govt and Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) panels continued ironing out details of Bangsamoro Basic Law. First draft delivered to Congress 10 Sept, certified as urgent by President Aquino; relevant committees in Senate, House of Representatives began deliberations week of 22 Sept; MILF chief negotiator Mohager Iqbal appealed for acceptance. Justice department rejected suspending arrest warrants against Nur Misuari of Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) faction and Umbra Kato of MILF splinter group Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF). Several clashes involving insurgents including two soldiers killed 11 Sept by BIFF; military also blamed group for two bomb explosions 16 Sept in General Santos city injuring six civilians. Three suspected communist guerrillas killed, three govt militiamen wounded 15 Sept in two separate clashes in Davao del Norte province. Army 19 Sept killed two suspected New People’s Army militants in Surigao del Sur.

Philippines

  |  1 Sep 2014

Unchanged

Govt and Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) peace process continued following July’s disagreements over revision to Bangsamoro Basic Law; govt-MILF 15 Aug met to review amendments; revised edition submitted to President Aquino 20 Aug. Multiple clashes, insurgent attacks through month: 2 suspected New People’s Army rebels killed 15 Aug in clash with govt forces in Agusan del Sur; 1 killed, 1 kidnapped 16 Aug by Abu Sayyaf militants in Zamboanga City; MILF commander Batuh Mohammed and son killed 20 Aug in Sultan sa Barongis, reportedly by gunmen led by another MILF commander.

Philippines

  |  1 Aug 2014

Unchanged

Opposition parties and left-wing groups 24 July filed complaint with House of Representatives calling for impeachment of President Aquino after he 28 April signed Enhanced Defence Cooperation Agreement with the U.S. without approval of Congress. Aquino also came under fire for Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP), portions of which Supreme Court deemed unconstitutional 1 July. Chief of the Philippines Armed Forces Lieutenant General Gregorio Catapang 24 July denied possibility of military involvement or coup. Conflict continued in Mindanao: 17 Bangasmoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF), 1 soldier killed 21 July during fight in Cotabato City. 4 police captured 10 July by communist New People’s Army (NPA) in Alegria town; 11 day ceasefire implemented 22 July by NPA, release of prisoners held by NPA set for 25 July cancelled. 5 killed 25 July in clash between govt troops and members of Islamic militant group Abu Sayyaf on Basilan Island; further 19 killed 28 July in ambush on Jolo Island. President Aquino late July met with Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) Chief Murad Ebrahim, discussed peace process including MILF opposition to reported alterations to proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law, submission to congress due 28 July delayed, new round of govt-MILF negotiations continued 1 Aug; Law would replace Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindano with new political entity.

Philippines

  |  1 Jul 2014

Unchanged

Senator Jose Estrada, son of former Philippine President Joseph Estrada, 23 June surrendered to police; among 54 arrested for embezzlement. Abu Sayyaf member Sattar Abdula captured 22 June in Barangay Tumalutab; 3 other members arrested same day near Zamboanga city in Mindanao. Muktar Kindo Santo, wanted for involvement in 2009 Maguindanao massacre, and two companions killed 23 June in shoot-out after attempted arrest. Organisation of Islamic cooperation (OIC) Gen Sec Iyad Ameen Madani 18 June called for MILF peace agreement to be linked to prior MNLF agreements; both groups met early month, reached memorandum of understanding. President Aquino 29 June put state on alert after intelligence reported possibility of terror attacks in Mindanao.

Philippines

  |  1 Jun 2014

Unchanged

Skirmishes in Mindanao continued including 39 miners taken hostage by New People’s Army (NPA) rebels 3 May during confrontation with govt forces in Compostela Valley. Govt, Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) 6 May announced creation of regulatory bodies to oversee peace process. Philippine and Indonesian FM’s met 23 May in Manila, signed agreement defining maritime borders after 20-year dispute; tensions with China continued (see South China Sea).

Philippines

  |  1 May 2014

Unchanged

Members of Bangsamoro Transition Commission (BTC), chaired by Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) chief negotiator, 20 April signed final draft of Bangsamoro Basic Law, enabling Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao to be replaced with new political entity; needs to be ratified through plebiscite in proposed Bangsamoro territory. MILF early April announced it was forming new political group, United Bangsamoro Justice Party. MILF accused military of attacking its fighters during operation against Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) in Basilan province 11 April, during which 18 rebels, including 4 alleged MILF, and 2 soldiers killed; military said MILF not intended targets. Military 30 April reported 14 ASG militants, 1 marine killed in clash in Patikul, Sulu province. Govt signed new military pact with U.S. allowing for larger U.S. military presence in Philippines; visiting President Obama in speech spoke of “ironclad” U.S. commitment to defend Philippines.

Philippines

  |  1 Apr 2014

Improved

Govt and Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) 27 March signed historic final peace deal Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro (CAB), ending 40-year conflict in Mindanao region. Under deal, MILF to become political group, new autonomous Bangsamoro entity to be in place by 2016. Govt, MILF and observers stress remaining obstacles to implementing peace agreement including MILF disarmament, danger posed by potential spoilers including other rebel groups. New People’s Army (NPA) threatened to intensify attacks in S Mindanao after 2 Communist Party of the Philippines-NPA leaders arrested on charges including murder 22 March; 2 soldiers killed in NPA ambush in Lopez town, Quezon province 24 March. Military 13 March captured 4 suspected NPA rebels in Sorsogon, Bicol region. 16 injured in suspected NPA landmine explosion in Bansalan 2 March. Several abductions early month blamed on Abu Sayyaf group. Chinese Coast Guard 10 March prevented 2 Philippines vessels from reaching disputed Second Thomas Shoal in South China Sea (SCS). Philippines vessel 29 March delivered supplies, fresh troops to military outpost on shoal despite 2 Chinese Coast Guard ships trying to block its way. Manila 30 March submitted formal plea at UN tribunal in its case against China’s SCS claim; China said it would not accept international arbitration, urged return to bilateral talks to resolve dispute.

Philippines

  |  1 Mar 2014

Unchanged

Ahead of Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro (CAB) between govt and Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) planned for March, MILF protested after police 23 Feb arrested Wahid Tundok, key MILF commander wanted on murder and other charges; MILF claim Tundok immune under ceasefire agreement. Tundok released 25 Feb after court rescinded arrest warrant. MILF commander Yusoph Kusain killed by police in Maguindanao 17 Feb during attempt to arrest him. Military 2 Feb announced completion of 8-day operation against Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters, rebel splinter group opposed to govt-MILF peace deal. MILF and Moro National Liberation Fron (MNLF) clashed in Carmen town, N Cotabato 20 Feb, reportedly over land. 5 injured in Zamboanga City 2 Feb after unknown attackers threw grenade into church; Abu Sayyaf Group suspected. Govt reported it was working with Norwegian govt on possibility of reopening peace talks with communist insurgents. Govt 25 Feb formally protested 27 Jan firing of water cannon by Chinese vessel at Filipino fishermen near disputed Scarborough Shoa.

Philippines

  |  1 Feb 2014

Improved

Govt and Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) 25 Jan announced agreement on 4th and final annex of Oct 2012 govt-MILF Framework Agreement for Muslim-majority areas in south. Annex on normalisation of security details disarming of 11,000-strong rebel force and creation of security force for area, paves way for final comprehensive peace agreement to be signed, ending 4 decades of conflict. Includes amnesty/pardon for MILF rebels convicted of rebellion-related charges. At least 2 rebels killed in clashes in S Maguindanao 27 Jan between govt forces and fighters from Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF), one of several groups opposing govt-MILF deal. Police trying to arrest group leader came under fire 26 Jan. Govt reported around 40 rebels killed in late-Jan offensive, BIFF denied deaths. 2 explosions in Basilan province 26 Jan, at least 3 wounded. Military 20 Jan reported seizure of 44 IEDs from suspected leftist rebels in Agusan del Sur province.

Philippines

  |  2 Jan 2014

Unchanged

Govt, Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) 8 Dec signed 3rd of 4 annexes to complete peace agreement for Muslim-majority areas in south; agreement outlines powers of national govt and proposed autonomous Bangsamoro govt. Both sides “confident” of signing final annex on normalisation, decommissioning MILF forces in Jan; UNSG Ban praised progress. MILF attacks reported during month, including several people abducted 5 Dec, 1 person killed 6 Dec in attack on police station in Marawi City; MILF leadership pledged to punish perpetrators. Reports of clashes between MILF factions in Maguindanao. Communist New People’s Army (NPA) leader killed in clash with army in Camarines Sur 5 Dec. NPA rebels 12 Dec killed policeman in Bukidnon. NPA and govt announced holiday ceasefire 18 Dec. 2 soldiers killed in suspected NPA attacks 24, 26 Dec. Abu Sayyaf leader killed resisting arrest in Sulu 23 Dec. 4 people including mayor of southern Labangan town shot dead at Manila airport 20 Dec. U.S. announced $40mn in maritime security assistance for Philippines, said “firmly committed” to security there.

Philippines

  |  1 Dec 2013

Unchanged

More than 5,200 people confirmed dead, 1,600 missing after typhoon Haiyan struck country 8 Nov, hitting east and central regions. Govt’s chief negotiator with MILF 5 Nov said confident that peace talks would be completed soon with agreement on power- and wealth-sharing annexes. MILF 7 Nov said it will evolve into political party after peace deal with govt is completed. EU donated additional €8mn to post-conflict recovery in Mindanao. Troops killed 2 New People’s Army communist rebels outside Tacloban who were reportedly part of group seeking to hijack typhoon relief supplies. NPA rebels 2 Nov clashed with troops: at least 6 rebels killed, several rebels, soldiers wounded. Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) rebels 5 Nov kidnapped 2 telephone company workers. Taiwanese tourist killed and his wife kidnapped by suspected Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) rebels in Sabah, Malaysia 15 Nov. Suspected ASG rebels seized govt official in Sulu province 19 Nov. Marine killed in clash with ASG in Patikul, Sulu, 20 Nov.

Philippines

  |  1 Nov 2013

Unchanged

Govt and MILF negotiators met for 41st round of talks in Malaysia 8-13 Oct, discussed remaining annexes of Oct 2012 framework agreement on power sharing and normalisation; sides reported progress but no agreement. Military officer 9 Oct accused MILF commander Malista Malanka of aiding Abu Sayyaf (ASG) militant group during army-ASG clash in which 2 soldiers, 3 ASG militants reported killed. Following Sept siege of Zamboanga City by MNLF, arrest warrants issued for 4 suspected leaders of group responsible for attack. At least 22 candidates and supporters reported killed, 27 injured in run-up to 28 Oct village elections across country. 4 MILF reported killed during clash between 2 MILF factions in Maguindanao 23 Oct, reportedly over rival candidates in polls; one of several intra-MILF skirmishes during month.

Philippines

  |  1 Oct 2013

Deteriorated

Major assault by Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) rebels, outside peace process between govt and Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), highlighted potential for disaffected rebel groups to derail peace talks. MNLF rebels entered Zamboanga City 9 Sept; ensuing fighting saw over 200 people reported killed, mostly rebels, also security forces and civilians, and over 100,000 residents reported displaced. Airport reopened 19 Sept, despite some fighters still holding out; authorities 28 Sept declared standoff over. Attacks coincided with resumption of peace negotiations with MILF following wealth-sharing agreement signed in July. Govt-MNLF ceasefire plan abandoned 14 Sept after sides failed to agree terms. Indonesia FM 15 Sept said Indonesia ready to contribute to restoration of normalcy in southern Philippines. Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) and Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) 12 Sept attacked predominantly Christian outskirts of Lamitan town in Basilan province, several wounded. Displays of growing tension between Philippines and China over South China Sea continued.

Philippines

  |  1 Sep 2013

Unchanged

Continued uptick in violence; 8 killed by bomb in Cotabato City, Mindanao 5 Aug; 3 bombings in central Mindanao 7 Aug, with targets including army truck. Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Movement (BIFM) claimed responsibility for latter. Police 6 Aug filed murder charges against suspects in 26 July Cagayan de Oro bombing, including member of new Khilafah Islamic Movement, which officials claim has links with foreign jihadis. President Aquino 8 Aug suggested BIFM, Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) and other new radical group perpetrating recent attacks to derail Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) peace process. Clashes between BIFM and Philippine military 10-13 Aug displaced almost 10,000 villagers in 2 towns in N Cotabato province. Govt-MILF peace talks resumed mid-Aug, with 2 of 4 annexes to Oct 2012 pact left to negotiate. In Sulu archipelago, some 70 members of ASG and military clashed in Basilan 8 Aug; 1 soldier, 7 militants killed. 2 injured by bomb in Jolo town 14 Aug; military blamed ASG. Moro National Liberation Front founder Nur Misuari 12 Aug declared independence of Palawan, Zamboanga Peninsula, Basilan, Sulu, Tawi-tawi, and Sabah in eastern Malaysia. Manila and Washington opened negotiations over U.S. military presence in Philippines. Ahead of Chinese-hosted talks with ASEAN in Sept, Chinese FM Wang warned against rushing South China Sea Code of Conduct negotiations; Wang and Chinese analysts accuse Philippines of delaying process. Philippines acquired old U.S. coast guard ship 6 Aug to patrol South China Sea.

Philippines

  |  1 Aug 2013

Unchanged

Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) peace process boosted by 13 July signing of wealth-sharing annex with govt, 2nd of 4 annexes required to complete Oct 2012 framework agreement. In state of the nation address 22 July President Aquino reiterated his commitment to peace in Muslim south, also asked Congress to pass Bangsamoro Basic Law by end 2014 to establish new autonomy arrangements in Mindanao. MILF splinter group Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Movement (BIFM), which opposes peace process, 6 July launched series of attacks in central Mindanao that injured 6 civilians, killed 5 soldiers. 2 soldiers, 5 insurgents killed 13 July in BIFM attack in Maguindanao province. Farmer killed 29 July as BIFM launched raid on villages in North Cotabato province. 26 July bombing in Cagayan de Oro, northern Mindanao, killed 8 and injured 48; no one claimed responsibility. Nur Misuari, founder of Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF), predecessor of MILF, angered by govt efforts to wind down Organisation of Islamic Conference-led review of failed 1996 peace agreement; organised rally in Sulu late month. Security forces reportedly killed 7 communist rebels in Tarlac province 31 July.

Philippines

  |  1 Jul 2013

Unchanged

Continued concern over lack of progress on govt-MILF peace process as talks remain stalled. MILF complained after 4 of its members arrested for illegal possession of ammunition. In Mindanao, land conflict in SW North Cotabato continued, with hundreds of families displaced since May. Member of paramilitary Civilian Armed Force Geographical Unit (CAFGU) killed in clash with MILF members in area mid-June. In Sulu archipelago, member of police intelligence shot dead, allegedly by Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG), outside Isabela City, Basilan 16 June. Several security forces killed across country by communist New People’s Army (NPA). Increased tensions between Philippines and China over South China Sea late June as countries exchanged threats, accusations over disputed territories. Philippines and Taiwan 14 June agreed to share maritime law enforcement procedures, establish means of contacting each other about enforcement actions underway, develop “mechanism” for releasing fishing vessels and crews.

Philippines

  |  1 Jun 2013

Unchanged

President Aquino’s slate of candidates fared well in mid-term legislative and local elections 13 May; ruling coalition maintained control of House of Representatives, strengthened presence in senate, Aquino’s Liberal Party won 2 crucial races in Muslim Mindanao. Police documented 51 election-related killings 13 Jan-13 May. Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF)-led Bangsamoro Transition Commission, body that will draft basic legislation on autonomy, finally received funds to begin work. Govt and MILF task forces for welfare assistance scheme to deliver peace dividends to MILF agreed where program would be rolled out. Serious fighting erupted between MILF and Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) in North Cotabato 5 May; 1 killed, International Monitoring Team intervened. Another clash 16 May; over 10,000 displaced by late May. 7 soldiers, 7 militants killed in clash between Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) and military 25 May on Jolo; 6 ASG, 3 soldiers killed in other clashes. Communist New People’s Army (NPA) killed 5 soldiers in Negros Occidental 4 May, and 3 people it accused of providing intelligence to military 19 May. Coast guard 9 May shot dead Taiwanese fisherman in latest escalation of tensions in South China Sea, setting off serious diplomatic row. Tensions also increased with China as Philippines 10 May lodged protest with Chinese embassy over warship and 2 surveillance vessels in vicinity of Second Thomas Shoal/Ayungin.

Philippines

  |  1 May 2013

Unchanged

MILF peace process made minimal progress in early April talks. Parties unable to conclude wealth-sharing annex as govt negotiators requested further time to clear provisions with cabinet, but unveiled terms of reference for socio-economic assistance program in MILF areas. Next round postponed until after 13 May mid-term legislative, local elections. Meanwhile, MILF-led transition commission held first meeting 3 April. Series of clashes on island province Basilan, beginning 9 April when army intelligence officer killed; govt blamed Malaysian radical Amin Baco alias Abu Jihad. Military and police 15 April raided camp of Isnilon Hapilon and Puruji Indama, leaders of extremist Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) in province; 8 ASG killed, army reported Hapilon wounded. Another 2 soldiers killed 28 April by ASG gunmen in Lamitan. Several possibly election-related killings reported, including some perpetrated by communist New People’s Army (NPA). In Mindanao, Gingoog mayor Ruthie Guingona – from prominent political family – injured in 20 April firefight at illegal NPA checkpoint that killed her 2 police escorts; highlighted increased NPA activity in Mindanao in recent months. Chinese ship ran aground on Tubbataha reef 8 April, charged with poaching. Philippine case filed with International Tribunal on Law of the Sea against China over South China Sea claims moved forward with appointment of 5 judges to tribunal.

Philippines

  |  1 Apr 2013

Unchanged

Violence broke out in Sabah, Malaysia between supporters of Jamalul Kiram III, descendant of sultan of Sulu, and Malaysian security forces (see Malaysia). Malaysian-facilitated MILF peace talks aborted 25 Mar and postponed to mid-April; Philippine govt denied link to Sabah conflict. Australian kidnapped in Dec 2011 released by Abu Sayyaf Group end month.

Philippines

  |  1 Mar 2013

Unchanged

Two Malaysian police and 1 civilian killed in Sabah, Eastern Malaysia, 1 March after weeks-long standoff with 180 followers, 20-30 bearing arms, of Sultan Jamalul Kiram III. Sultan claimed he was asserting unresolved Philippine claim to Sabah. Malaysian security forces surrounded area and demanded group leave. Philippine govt said Sultan should not pursue claim by force; urged followers to return home. MILF disputed Sultan’s claim that he had not been consulted on Oct 2012 peace agreement. Latest talks on annexes to peace agreement began 25 Feb; on same day, members of MILF- and govt-appointed transition commission named. President Aquino travelled to MILF HQ 11 Feb for launch of Sajahatra Bangsamoro, new socio-economic assistance program for MILF communities. 2 cameramen kidnapped June 2012 by Abu Sayyaf Group in Sulu released 2 Feb; clash broke out next day between fighters of MNLF commander Habier Malik and ASG members, over 20 killed. Security guard shot dead during New People’s Army (NPA) raid in Bukidnon, Mindanao 19 Feb. Amid reports that NPA charging candidates for May elections for “permit to campaign”, military announced guerrillas raised 25 million pesos through extortion in 2012. China 19 Feb rejected Philippines’ request for international arbitration of South China Sea dispute, citing “serious mistakes both in fact and law”. Foreign ministry announced Philippines would receive 10 new Japanese patrol boats for coast guard within 18 months.

Philippines

  |  1 Feb 2013

Unchanged

Attacks by communist New People’s Army (NPA) resumed following end of holiday ceasefire; several rebels and soldiers killed in small-scale clashes late month. In Negros Occidental, alleged NPA members ambushed truck 27 Jan, killing 9, including 1 police officer. Peace talks in Malaysia between MILF and govt concluded 25 Jan; parties announced creation of 3rd party monitoring team to oversee implementation of Oct 2012 peace agreement. Negotiations continuing on supplementary “annexes”. MNLF and MILF 16 Jan clashed in land dispute, killing 2; 4 killed in clashes between MILF units over land 22 Jan. Police-led operation 6 Jan killed 13 alleged criminals in gangland-style execution in Quezon province, putting pressure on President Aquino to address abuses perpetrated by police. Ahead of May elections, local politicians killed in provinces of Pampanga, North Cotabato, Isabela. Govt 22 Jan decided to bring China to UN arbitration tribunal to resolve South China Sea dispute and challenge “unlawful claim” to Philippine maritime domain.

Philippines

  |  30 Dec 2012

Unchanged

Govt and Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) 12-15 Dec held second round of talks since agreement signed in Oct; failed to agree on whether MILF would lead transition Bangsamoro govt prior to elections in 2016, delaying completion of supplementary annexes to peace pact. President Aquino 17 Dec signed executive order to create transition commission in charge of drafting legislation to create new Bangsamoro govt. Typhoon killed around 1,000 people in eastern Mindanao early Dec, hit stronghold of communist New People’s Army (NPA), which announced month-long ceasefire amid relief operations. Army reciprocated with holiday ceasefire 16 Dec-3 Jan. NPA 12 Dec attacked police station in Palawan, killing 1 police officer; 7 soldiers, 5 NPA guerrillas killed in 17 Dec clash in Isabela province. NPA leader Filemon Mendrez arrested 25 Dec in Central Visayas. In Mindanao bus bomb explosions 29 Dec injured at least 7. Police 13 Dec arrested alleged member of violent extremist Abu Sayyaf Group in Davao. Meeting between claimants of South China Sea scheduled for mid-Dec postponed amid speculation of pressure from China. Philippines and U.S. held bilateral strategic dialogue. China 27 Dec reportedly sent patrol vessel to disputed waters; Philippines issued statement to “strongly object”.

Philippines

  |  1 Dec 2012

Unchanged

Govt and Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) held further negotiations 12-17 Nov on 4 annexes to 15 Oct “framework agreement”; next round of talks scheduled Dec. MILF 15 Nov sent delegation to Organisation of Islamic Conference’s (OIC) meeting of FMs; OIC seeking to increase Moro National Liberation Front’s (MNLF) cooperation with MILF in wake of Oct agreement. In Maguindanao, 2 bomb explosions 26 Nov killed 1 member of MILF breakaway group Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Movement (BIFM). 21 killed in clashes between govt and communist New People’s Army during month in Mindanao, Luzon. Security forces killed Indonesian extremist 23 Nov in Marawi City. Manila and ASEAN criticised late month reports that Chinese border guards to be given powers to search, seize and expel ships “illegally entering” Chinese waters in South China Sea.

Philippines

  |  1 Nov 2012

Improved

President Aquino 7 Oct announced deal with Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF); signed by chief negotiators 15 Oct. Framework agreement envisions creation of new autonomous regional government called the Bangsamoro, replacing failed Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao; conditions include drafting of law to create region, to be approved by Congress, followed by plebiscite and MILF-led transition before elections in 2016. Further details, particularly policing and decommissioning of MILF forces, to be discussed mid-Nov. Agreement widely welcomed, though criticised by breakaway Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Movement (BIFM) and Moro National Liberation Front founder Nur Misuari, who organised rally against agreement 21 Oct in Davao. Bombs struck Mindanao 10, 11, 18 Oct; 2 killed. At least 4 killed in 18 Oct MILF-BIFM clashes in Maguindanao. 3 soldiers killed 13 Oct in attack by suspected Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) in Basilan; 4 marines, 10 ASG killed 28 Oct in Sulu. Police mid Oct arrested 2 suspected Abu Sayyaf leaders in central Mindanao. Govt-New People’s Army (NPA) clashes killed 13 in Mindanao, Western and Eastern Visayas. Chinese vice-FM Fu Ying visited Philippines 19 Oct as part of effort to mend relations after increased tensions over South China Sea.

Philippines

  |  1 Oct 2012

Unchanged

Exploratory talks between govt and Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) 5-8 Sept made significant progress on draft “framework agreement” to set up new autonomous Muslim entity. Breakaway Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Movement (BIFM) 8 Sept pledged to MILF to stop attacks in central Mindanao; thousands remain displaced. In western Mindanao, security forces 20 Sept rescued Chinese hostage, killed 5 militants after raid on Abu Sayyaf camp. In Basilan province, suspected Abu Sayyaf militants continued attacks on rubber plantation at centre of land dispute; at least 3 killed in latest ambush 20 Sept. In Davao, grenade explosion 1 Sept intended to target army HQ injured 48 civilians; communist New People’s Army (NPA) claimed responsibility. President Aquino 5 Sept signed administrative order to name South China Sea “West Philippine Sea” in official maps.

Philippines

  |  1 Sep 2012

Unchanged

Separatist Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Movement (BIFM) launched several attacks in central Mindanao: at least 5 civilians, 10 security forces members, around 60 BIFM fighters killed, 45,000 displaced; MILF 8 Aug condemned attacks; military captured 5 BIFM camps. During 7-11 Aug negotiations, MILF, govt agreed to establish 2 technical working groups on power, wealth sharing. Unidentified gunmen 8 Aug attacked security forces in Marawi city; 3 soldiers, 1 child killed. 5 New People’s Army (NPA) rebels killed 26 Aug in firefight with security forces in Davao City; 2 policemen killed 30 Aug in NPA attack in Makilala, North Cotabato.

Philippines

  |  1 Aug 2012

Unchanged

MILF 6-9 July held assembly of Bangsamoro leaders at main base in Central Mindanao ahead of 16-18 July peace negotiations with govt. Police 16 July attempted raid in Butig, Lanao del Sur province, allegedly in pursuit of terrorists hiding in MILF area; MILF rebels 24 July referred incident to International Monitoring Team, said raid could undermine truce agreement. Clan violence between MILF commanders in Maguindanao province displaced more than 360 families; MILF 27 July claimed truce brokered. Spate of attacks on rubber plantation in Basilan blamed on disgruntled workers collaborating with violent extremist Abu Sayyaf Group: 6 rubber workers killed 11 July; 12 soldiers, 9 ASG members killed 26 July. Voter registration 9-18 July in Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao declared success despite some reported irregularities. Govt 5 July said it had lodged protest over China’s late-June declaration of development of Sansha City in disputed area of S China Sea; Chinese govt 22 July announced establishment of military garrison in area. ASEAN member states 21 July agreed to 6-point principles on conduct in S China Sea.

Philippines

  |  1 Jul 2012

Unchanged

2 remaining Filipino vessels 15 June departed Scarborough Shoal due to bad weather; China 17 June responded by also withdrawing boats; govt spokesman 27 June claimed Chinese fishing boats sighted in disputed South China Sea shoal in violation of earlier pullout agreement. 2 major Basilan political clans 5 June agreed to end fighting. Military official 17 June warned foreigners of kidnappings in south following suspected Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) abductions of 2 Chinese businessmen in Kabasalan township 4 June, 12 June abduction of Jordanian journalist, 4 others in Sulu. Suspected ASG attack on bus 8 June killed 4 in Jolo; landmine blast 15 June killed 1 army officer, wounded 3 soldiers in Compostela Valley. Govt, New People’s Army (NPA) talks in Oslo 14-15 June failed to break impasse; 13 NPA fighters killed 1 July in San Narcisco, Botolan clashes, army 9-10 June captured major NPA camp in N Samar following 3 days of clashes; 2 soldiers killed 13 June in NPA ambush in Luzon; NPA attack 21 June killed 1 soldier, 1 civilian in Davao del Sur.

Philippines

  |  1 Jun 2012

Unchanged

Fishing ban declared by Philippines, China mid-May failed to end Scarborough Shoal dispute, defence chiefs 28 May agreed to exercise restraint. Govt-MILF peace talks resumed 28 May. MILF military affairs chief died 3 May, replacement not yet announced. Mid-May conflict between local MILF, Moro National Liberation Front commanders in North Cotabato displaced close to 300 families. 3 killed, 24 injured in grenade blast in Iligan City 5 May. Authorities 30 May confirmed March murder of witness in 2009 Maguindanao massacre trial. Abu Sayyaf Group rebels 11 May freed Malaysian kidnapped May 2011, still holding 6 foreigners hostage. Senate 29 May impeached Chief Justice Corona on corruption charges.

Philippines

  |  1 May 2012

Unchanged

MILF and govt signed document outlining 10 principles for negotiations at 23-24 April peace talks, includes provision for secular ministerial govt in new Muslim autonomous region. On Basilan, violence continued: Long Malat, commander with Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) ties, killed in clan conflict 1 April; ASG ambush at rubber plantation killed 3 govt militia, 1 ASG member 5 April; 22 soldiers injured in suspected IED attack near captured ASG camp 10 April. Clashes between govt forces and communist New People’s Army (NPA) continued: NPA ambush 25 April killed 11 police, 2 civilians in Ifugao, northern Luzon. Standoff over disputed Scarborough Shoal began 10 April when Philippine military tried to detain Chinese fishermen; diplomats attempting to resolve crisis. Annual joint U.S.-Philippine military exercises conducted 16-27 April; foreign affairs and defence secretaries from both countries 30 April met in Washington, agreed to boost Philippines defences. 

Philippines

  |  1 Apr 2012

Unchanged

Peace talks between govt and MILF resumed 19-21 March, next round to be held April. MILF revealed findings of International Monitoring Team inquiry into Oct 2011 clash between rebels and soldiers; Philippine military cited for 10 violations of ceasefire to MILF’s one. Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) early March met govt under Organisation of Islamic Conference auspices to review 1996 peace agreement: MNLF criticised govt for reneging on June 2011 partnership agreement for governance reform in autonomous region. In Sulu archipelago, 15 March offensive against violent extremist Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) killed 4 militants, 1 soldier, on Basilan; 2 killed 3 March in Jolo town bombing, military said ASG responsible. Media reported “smart bombs” provided by U.S. used in 2 Feb airstrike on Jolo that killed senior ASG leader. Violence involving communist New People’s Army (NPA) continued across country; guerrillas claimed responsibility for killing of Swiss-Filipino businessman 7 March in North Cotabato.

Philippines

  |  1 Mar 2012

Unchanged

Senior figure of violent extremist Abu Sayyaf group among at least 14 reportedly killed in 2 Feb airstrike on southern island of Jolo; military claimed 2 high profile foreign jihadis with ties to Jemaah Islamiyah killed. Police 14 Feb arrested alleged Abu Sayyaf member in Zamboanga City in connection with 2000-2001 resort kidnappings. Army 11 Feb clashed with 15 Abu Sayyaf militants attempting to bomb road project in southern Basilan. At 13-15 Feb MILF-govt peace talks both sides agreed to renew Ad Hoc Joint Action Group, which facilitates cooperation on interdiction of criminals and terrorists in MILF-controlled areas. Roughly 10,000 fled Rajah Buayan, Maguindanao province, 12-15 Feb when rebel commanders clashed over land. At least 3 killed, 15 wounded in 19 Feb attempt by gunmen to free prisoners from Kidapawan city jail, North Cotabato. 1 soldier killed, 3 wounded in 27 Feb communist guerrilla attack in Compostela Valley province. Former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo 23 Feb pleaded not guilty in electoral fraud trial. 3 MILF commanders suspended 28 Feb for involvement in 18 Oct al-Barka clash, Basilan, that left 19 soldiers, 5 rebels dead.

Philippines

  |  1 Feb 2012

Unchanged

9-11 Jan govt-MILF peace talks saw progress on governance issues, plans for interim period following settlement; further negotiations scheduled mid-Feb. MILF 21 Jan reported fighters from Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) defecting to MILF over lack of MNLF leadership. 4 injured 18 Jan in Bukidnon province clash between security forces and communist New People’s Army. Govt 19 Jan announced joint military drills with the US marines at oil rig in South China Sea, U.S.-Philippine strategic dialogue 26-27 Jan discussed increased U.S. regional presence.

Philippines

  |  2 Jan 2012

Unchanged

Govt-Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) peace process appeared back on track with 5-7 Dec talks resulting in statement that Malaysian-led International Monitoring Team (IMT) mandate would be renewed for 2012; talks to resume early Jan. MILF and Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) representatives 6-7 Dec met in Saudi Arabia under Organisation of Islamic Conference auspices to improve coordination. IMT investigation into Oct clashes between govt troops and MILF stalled by Zamboanga Sibugay governor early Dec refusing IMT access to site of clashes in Payao. Australian kidnapped 5 Dec in Ipil, Zamboanga Sibugay. Despite deadly clashes 4 and 12 Dec, govt and New People’s Army (NPA) 15 Dec announced holiday truce until 2 Jan. 5 dead, 2 wounded in 16 Dec NPA ambush. Govt 14 Dec launched ship newly acquired from U.S. to patrol disputed Spratly islands.



Philippines

  |  1 Dec 2011

Unchanged

Govt and MILF 3 Nov held one-day session in Kuala Lampur, in first meeting since MILF rejected govt draft proposal in Aug. No joint statement, but sides committed to meeting again soon, tentatively in early Dec. Clashes between military and MILF in Basilan and Zamboanga Sibugay in Oct being investigated by Malaysian-led international monitoring team. 3 Nov clash left at least 2 MILF members dead, 3 govt militiamen injured in Tulunan town, North Cotabato. Breakaway MILF commander Kato rumoured to have suffered a stroke 24 Nov; conflicting reports as to whether he is alive. Govt troops 6 Nov clashed with suspected NPA rebels in south, 1 soldier dead, 4 wounded; 6 soldiers wounded 7 Nov by suspected Abu Sayyaf landmine in Basilan. Tensions with China over disputed Spratly Islands in South China Sea increased as Philippines promoted plan for oil, gas exploration in region. U.S. Sec State Clinton 15-16 Nov visited Philippines prior to East Asia Summit, declared commitment to rules-based approach to resolving competing maritime claims, freedom of navigation; pledged to provide second warship to Philippines navy.



Philippines

  |  1 Nov 2011

Deteriorated

Violent clashes between soldiers and MILF broke out as peace process remained stalled. MILF 18 Oct claimed army attacked its base in Al Barka, Basilan; 19 soldiers, 6 MILF killed. Military 19 Oct shelled MILF base in Payao, Zamboanga Sibugay; insurgents 20 Oct retaliated killing 4 soldiers, 4 police. Army bombed same area 24-25 Oct, first time since 2008 conflict; 2 soldiers, 6 rebels killed; 11,600 displaced. MILF claims army is violating ceasefire. Govt maintains they are pursuing Waning Abdusalam, leader of criminal gang with outstanding arrest warrants; MILF clarified he is not a member. MILF 25 Oct reaffirmed commitment to peace process but President Aquino under pressure to suspend talks. MILF 3 Oct announced rogue commander Ameril Umbra Kato expelled from group in Sept. In boost for Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) reform process, Supreme Court 18 Oct approved postponement of ARMM elections to 2013; President Aquino to appoint interim leadership to improve governance. Communist New People’s Army (NPA) 3 Oct attacked 3 mining companies in NE Mindanao, raising fears of NPA resurgence, impact of conflict on mining, investment. NPA 9 Oct released Lingig mayor, kidnapped in Aug, in hopes of reviving faltering peace talks. Against backdrop of regional dispute over South China Sea, visiting Vietnamese President 27 Oct backed Philippines’ proposal for peace zone.

Philippines

  |  1 Oct 2011

Unchanged

No date set for next meeting of govt and Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF); Malaysian facilitator trying to narrow gap between draft proposals. MILF Chairman Al Haj Murad Ebrahim 5 Sept criticised govt for not addressing political roots of conflict; rebel website 15 Sept announced rogue commander Ameril Umbra Kato given until 26 Sept to return to MILF. Kato’s fighters and MILF clashed mid-month in Datu Piang, Maguindanao, leaving 4 dead, thousands evacuated. 2 bombings in Cotabato City 13 Sept during visit of govt official; 3rd bomb discovered next day. Military 11 Sept stepped up offensive against Abu Sayyaf Group in Sulu and Basilan, killing several. Army 25 Sept said 13 rebels, 3 civilians and 2 soldiers killed in clash in Talipano, Sulu. More than 100 communist New People’s Army guerrillas 12 Sept attacked police station in Hinabangan, Samar; peace talks remain stalled. Tensions in South China Sea (SCS) remained high; President Aquino 3 Sept completed first state visit to China, issued joint statement with President Hu Jintao reiterating commitment to address disputes through dialogue, strengthen trade ties. During visit to Japan Aquino 27 Sept met PM Yoshihiko Noda, seeking Japan’s backing in SCS dispute.

Philippines

  |  1 Sep 2011

Unchanged

President Aquino 4 Aug met MILF chairman Murad Ebrahim, first such high-level meeting since 1997 start of peace talks. Following late-month talks in Kuala Lumpur, MILF negotiating team rejected govt proposal as falling short of rebel demand for new sub-state; both sides said willing to continue talks. Mid-month land conflict killed 14, displaced thousands in Maguindanao; involved fighters from breakaway MILF commander Umbra Kato. MILF still maintains has yet to formally expel Kato; Central Committee to clarify by early Sept. 1 killed in 15 Aug bomb attack against convoy of Maguindanao Governor Esmael Mangudadatu; Mangudadatu unharmed, blamed political rivals; police 18 Aug arrested suspect. 1 killed, 12 wounded in 1 Aug Cotabato City bomb blast. Army 8 Aug killed 3 Abu Sayyaf militants on Jolo island, followed late-July Abu Sayyaf killing of 8 troops.

Philippines

  |  1 Aug 2011

Unchanged

Govt-MILF talks to resume mid-Aug, when govt due to submit delayed proposal for peace plan. President Aquino 30 June postponed elections in Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao from Aug to 2013. Suspected Abu Sayyaf militants 28 July killed 7 soldiers on Jolo island; 12 July abducted 2 Americans, 1 Filipino outside Zamboanga City. China 12 July rejected Philippines’ offer to bring South China Sea territorial disputes before UN tribunal on maritime law; ASEAN 19 July expressed “serious concern” over potential escalation of dispute.

Philippines

  |  1 Jul 2011

Unchanged

At 27-28 June talks with MILF in Kuala Lumpur, govt deferred tabling its counter-proposal until next round in Aug; neither side disclosed reason for delay. On eve of talks, MILF accused govt of “scheming” to sideline Malaysian facilitator and International Contact Group in order to pursue direct negotiations. Tensions with China over South China Sea escalated: govt 4 June filed protest with Beijing over at least 7 “aggressive” acts since Feb, denied by China. Philippines 17 June deployed largest warship to area. Joint U.S.-Philippine 11-day naval drills began 28 June near disputed waters. Andal Ampatuan Sr, patriarch of clan suspected of Nov 2009 Mindanao massacre, arraigned 1 June, pled not guilty. String of communist NPA attacks in south 7 June killed 5 security personnel, 1 civilian. 16 June media reports claimed Abu Sayyaf militant group planned bombings in Manila on 12 June Independence Day.

Philippines

  |  1 Jun 2011

Unchanged

Following early month arrests of 3 alleged members of militant Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) in Manila and Isabela City, police said ASG trying to infiltrate urban communities. Singaporean detained in Malaysia 6 May for allegedly channelling funds, logistical support to insurgents in southern Philippines; MILF denied any connection to suspect. In clashes with communist New People’s Army, military killed 5 rebels in Cagayan 12 May, 8 rebels in Central Luzon 13 May. Chinese Defense Minister Liang Guanglie visited Philippines 23 May amid tensions over South China Sea.

Philippines

  |  1 May 2011

Unchanged

At talks with govt 27-28 Apr, MILF reiterated that breakaway commander Ameril Umbra Kato was “internal problem”, banned him from using MILF name. Malaysian facilitator Othman Razak, who govt accused of pro-MILF bias, replaced by Tengku Abdul Ghaffar Mohammad. At least 11 killed, hundreds displaced in 3 Apr clashes between MILF and supporters of Maguindanao (Mindanao) governor Esmael “Toto” Mangudadatu. Following March harassment of Department of Energy ship by Chinese vessels, govt 5 Apr filed formal complaint with UN over China’s claims to sovereignty over South China Sea. 2 Abu Sayyaf militants killed 16 Apr in clash with military on Basilan. Army 20 Apr claimed Marvin and Gelita Capones, top communist New People’s Army commanders, surrendered in Samar.

Philippines

  |  1 Apr 2011

Unchanged

Govt-MILF talks postponed from late March to 27-28 April; MILF leadership said it will resolve issue of breakaway commander Ameril Umbra Kato before next round. House of representatives passed bill postponing Aug elections in Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao to 2013; senate yet to approve. With temporary ceasefire during Feb talks over, govt-NPA clashes resumed: 1 police, 3 rebels killed in Zambales 2 March; 3 rebels killed in Negros Oriental 16 March; several clashes in Mindanao during month. Philippine research vessel approached by 2 Chinese patrol boats close to disputed Spratly Islands 2 March; Beijing includes area in its territorial claims in South China Sea. In response to senate enquiry into corruption in army, President Aquino 6 March appointed Lt-General Eduardo Oban new army chief of staff.


Philippines

  |  1 Feb 2011

Unchanged

“Informal” govt-MILF talks held in Malaysia 13 Jan, first meeting since President Aquino took office June 2010. Govt continues to demand allegedly pro-MILF facilitator Othman Razak be replaced, but both sides agreed to resume “formal” peace talks mid-Feb. 16 Dec-3 Jan ceasefire declared between govt and communist New People’s Army (NPA) largely respected, but clashes resumed early month: NPA 6 Jan killed 3 soldiers in Davao del Norte; killed 5 police in Rizal 23 Jan; army 5 Jan captured senior NPA commander Tirso Alcantara. Govt and NPA representatives held preparatory talks 14-18 Jan; formal negotiations to start 15 Feb in Oslo.

Philippines

  |  1 Feb 2011

Unchanged

In line with President Aquino’s election pledges, govt resumed formal peace talks with 2 major rebel groups during month.  Govt-MILF talks held in Malaysia 9-10 Feb, next round scheduled for 29-30 March; both sides said optimistic of reaching peace deal within a year, Malaysian facilitator Othman Razak, who govt accused of pro-MILF bias, to be replaced, but no successor named. MILF 5 Feb confirmed “renegade” commander Ameril Umbra Kato, implicated in Aug 2008 attacks on civilians, had formed own group Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters, but said problem “manageable”; govt expressed concern split could harm peace talks. Army 2 Feb said at least 13 killed in month-long land dispute in North Cotabato where MILF and rival MNLF clashed; further 6 civilians killed 7 Feb. Formal govt negotiations with Communist NPA resumed in Oslo 15 Feb: sides 21 Feb announced road map to peace settlement by June 2012, but rebels called for release of high-level communist party official arrested on eve of talks. 2 soldiers, 5 Abu Sayyaf militants killed 13 Feb in Basilan clash.



Philippines

  |  3 Jan 2011

Unchanged

Govt-MILF talks faced continued delays. Mandate of Malaysian-led peace process monitoring team extended 8 Dec by 3 months, but could not be renewed for full term as govt still seeking removal of Malaysian facilitator Othman Razak due to his alleged pro-MILF bias. 3 soldiers killed in 7 Dec clash with MILF in Zamboanga Sibugay. Representatives of govt and communist New People’s Army (NPA) 2 Dec agreed to 16 Dec-3 Jan ceasefire, longest such ceasefire in more than 10 years; formal talks expected to resume Feb 2011. NPA 14 Dec killed 12, including 10 soldiers and 1 child, in Northern Samar; govt denounced attack as “treacherous”. NPA 26 Dec said will continue “revolt” despite ceasefire.

Philippines

  |  1 Dec 2010

Unchanged

Concerns Govt-MILF ceasefire could fray as talks still delayed: govt requested Malaysia replace facilitator Othman Razak due to alleged pro-rebel bias; MILF requested Razak continue in role. Mandate of Malaysia-led International Monitoring Team to expire 8 Dec; may not be renewed due to problems over facilitator. Defence Minister Gazmin accused MILF of possible involvement in Oct Mindanao bomb attack killing 11; MILF denied, accused Gazmin of undermining ceasefire. Govt 24 Nov said executive order 546 on private armies could not be repealed.  In clashes between army and communist New People’s Army, 1 soldier killed 1 Nov in Camarines Sur province, 3 civilians killed 16 Nov in Leyte province.

Philippines

  |  1 Nov 2010

Unchanged

At least 10 killed in 21 Oct bomb attack on bus in Mindanao. Police 24 Oct arrested 5; unclear if connected to militants, MILF denied responsibility. At least 33 killed, including 20 in Mindanao, in violence related to late month district and local council elections, but police said overall violence down 70% from last poll in 2007. Govt 21 Oct appointed panel to negotiate with communist New People’s Army, said resumption of peace talks not conditional on rebels agreeing to ceasefire.

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CrisisWatch N°136

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