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CrisisWatch Database

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Philippines

  |  1 Jun 2016

Unchanged
Controversial longstanding mayor of Mindanao’s Davao City Rodrigo Duterte won 9 May presidential elections with 38.5% of vote. Pantaleon Alvarez, expected to be new house speaker under Duterte, 21 May said next Congress would not pass Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL), would focus on federalisation of country which would address provisions of 2014 Comprehensive Agreement on Bangsamoro (CAB); remarks contradict Duterte’s previous stated commitment to passing BBL. Chief govt negotiator on CAB 23 May urged passage of BBL; Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) 24 May called Alvarez’s statement “non-starter” and said it did not build confidence in Duterte administration’s understanding of Bangsamoro issue. Govt and MILF peace panels met 29-30 May in Malaysia and signed Declaration of Continuity of the Partnership in the peace process. Poll results released 7 May showed 45% of Philippine population said new president should implement CAB. Islamic State (IS) claimed 9 May attack on army outpost in Maluso, said carried out by “IS Philippines”; second IS-claimed attack in Philippines. Seven soldiers wounded 18 May on Jolo Island in suspected Abu Sayyaf group grenade attack. Govt forces 24 May captured Abu Sayyaf camp in effort to rescue hostages; Abu Sayyaf set new ransom deadline for 13 June. Abu Sayyaf 11 May freed four Indonesians without ransom; release reportedly negotiated by Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF). Govt forces late month reportedly killed 54 militants linked to Islamist terrorist group Jemaah Islamiyah in Lanau del Sur. In other attacks: seven killed, one wounded 9 May by unknown attackers south of Manila. Four killed in Maguindanao mid-May in three clashes between Sabal and Buisan political clans with ties to MNLF and MILF.

Philippines

  |  2 May 2016

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Month saw heavy fighting on Basilan island as military launched major operation against Abu Sayyaf Group. Eighteen soldiers killed, over 50 injured 9 April after over 100 Abu Sayyaf attacked military in Tipo-Tipo, highest death toll of single military operation since 2011. Islamic State (IS), to which Abu Sayyaf has claimed allegiance, 14 April issued first official communiqué on attacks in Philippines claiming to have blown up seven trucks carrying soldiers during Basilan clashes; Philippine military rejected claim as propaganda. Military 10 April deployed over 2,000 soldiers to pursue Abu Sayyaf leaders Isnilon Hapilon and Furuji Indama. 37 militants reported killed in clashes 9-16 April. Military captured at least three Abu Sayyaf camps throughout month. Military 6 April confirmed foreign nationals held by Abu Sayyaf include fourteen Indonesians, four Malaysians kidnapped from ship 3 April. Abu Sayyaf 8 April freed former Italian missionary after six months; 25 April murdered Canadian hostage held since Sept 2015; 1 May released ten Indonesian sailors held since late March. Govt’s chief peace negotiator 14 April said operations against Abu Sayyaf highlight importance of Mindanao peace process with MILF in curbing terrorist groups. As campaigning got underway for 9 May general elections, candidates debated significance of Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL). All presidential contenders have also declared supporting the continuation of peace process.

Philippines

  |  1 Apr 2016

Unchanged
Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) leader Murad Ebrahim 7 March said MILF will uphold Mindanao peace process ahead of May elections, appealed to international supporters of process to influence new govt to implement 2014 Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro (CAB); warned about growing frustration over Congress’s failure to pass Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) leading to fringe militant groups allying with Islamic State (IS) to establish stronghold on southern islands; said MILF working to dissuade IS-allied militants from launching attacks. Senator Ferdinand Marcos Jr., author and sponsor of alternative to BBL, 24 March said implementing peace process best deterrent against IS influence in Philippines. Clashes continued between military and Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters in Datu Salibo, Maguindanao. Two New People’s Army (NPA) bomb attacks 20 March wounded four soldiers and two civilians in Bicol region. Military confirmed Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) militant Radullan Sahiron, wanted by U.S. for $1 mn, injured in 18 March firefight with govt security forces in Patikul. One ASG reported killed 23 March in MILF ambush. ASG reportedly kidnapped ten Indonesian sailors late month. IS-linked Ansaru’l Khilafah Philippines 17 March released video purporting to show beheading of man working for police.

Philippines

  |  1 Mar 2016

Unchanged

Congress went on recess 3 Feb without passing Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL), meaning that bill, which is required to implement 2013 Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro (CAB) through creation of autonomous Bangsamoro region, will not be passed before May elections. Chief peace negotiator criticised legislators’ “indifference” and “chronic absenteeism” in the 16th Congress. Following talks in Malaysia 10-11 Feb, govt and MILF issued joint statement expressing disappointment but agreeing to extend ceasefire until March 2017. MILF chief negotiator Mohagher Iqbal warned of frustration and anxiety within MILF; MILF leader Murad Ebrahim 18 Feb also expressed commitment to peace, urged patience and calm among Bangsamoro communities. Third Party Monitoring Team (TPMT) 26 Feb said that Jan 2015 Mamasapano incident, in which 44 police commandos and eighteen MILF were killed, not only halted passage of BBL but also may have made extremism more attractive to young Muslims. Military 10 Feb reported arrest of top Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) militant Hassan Indal alias Abu Hazam west of Cotabato City. BIFF suspected of responsibility for roadside bombs in Maguindanao killing four people 17 Feb and one soldier 20 Feb. Six suspected BIFF fighters reported killed in clash with military 16 Feb. MILF 25 Feb announced it was repositioning its fighters in south to avoid “mis-encounters” with army fighting BIFF. Military reported 42 suspected militants claiming links to Islamic State killed during clashes in Lanao del Sur province late month; three soldiers also killed. Military reported clash between Abu Sayyaf Group and Moro National Liberation Front in Sulu 20 Feb, two killed. Six policemen killed in attack by suspected New People’s Army (NPA) rebels in Cagayan 16 Feb. Military reported NPA leader shot dead by soldiers in Bukidnon province 23 Feb.

Philippines

  |  1 Feb 2016

Unchanged

Third Party Monitoring Team (TPMT) which tracks implementation of the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro (CAB) 3 Jan urged govt and MILF to promote passage of Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL), and manage public expectations in case congress does not pass it; also expressed concerns over whether BBL would be compliant with CAB. Senate President Franklin Drilon and House Speaker Feliciano Belmonte 28 Jan conceded BBL will not be passed before May 2016 elections. Tensions heightened 27 Jan with reopening of Senate probe into 25 Jan Mamasapano incident in which 44 police commandos and eighteen MILF were killed. MILF 27 Jan reported it has set up task force following reports of recruitment activities by Islamic State in south Mindanao, expressed concern over rising radicalism among region’s youth. Thousands of civilians reportedly fled areas in southern Philippines early month following attacks by Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF). Continued clashes between military and Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG).

Philippines

  |  4 Jan 2016

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Congress failed to pass proposed Basic Law on the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region (BLBAR) by 16 Dec when house adjourned, though did complete plenary debates. Despite widespread concerns that law now unlikely to be passed under President Aquino’s administration, speaker of parliament said he was hopeful that BLBAR would be passed when congress resumes session 18 Jan, prior to long recess ahead of May 2016 national elections. Leaders of Moro rebel factions MILF and MNLF gathered in Mindanao mid-Dec to discuss concerns over Bangsamoro peace agreement, attempts to unify movements to increase pressure on govt to pass BLBAR. EU 9 Dec pledged continued support for peace process, alongside EUR5.5mn aid for peacebuilding in Bangsamoro region. Six people reported killed in MILF attack in Tulunan town, North Cotabato 8 Dec, police said clash motivated by longstanding land conflict. Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters reportedly killed nine villagers in south 26 Dec, while govt forces killed at least five rebels in Mindanao clashes. At least fifteen al-Qaeda-linked Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) rebels and three soldiers reported killed in clashes in Basilan mid-month; ten ASG and several soldiers reported killed in Jolo island clash 30 Dec.

Philippines

  |  1 Dec 2015

Unchanged

Senate President Drilon expressed optimism that Basic Law on the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region (BLBAR) will be passed in their chamber before congress adjourns 16 Dec; however, bill’s principal author in lower house Rufus Rodriquez 25 Nov called for “more forceful intervention” from President Aquino to address lack of quorum. BLBAR would set up new Bangsamoro govt, implementing historic Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro which brought end to decades of conflict, but time running out to pass and implement legislation before May 2016 general elections. Business representatives, envoys and local politicians called for congress to pass bill. As militant Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) beheaded Malaysian hostage 17 Nov, Aquino pledged to “further intensify” operations again ASG and other terrorist groups. Clash erupted in Maguindanao after Misuari supporters blocked road project 22 Nov. Security forces reported killing eight Islamist militants in Mindanao 28 Nov.

Philippines

  |  2 Nov 2015

Unchanged
Senate adjourned 7 Oct and House of Representatives 9 Oct without voting on Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL); session to resume 3 Nov, with new deadline to approve BBL deadline 16 Dec, when congress breaks for Christmas. Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) and Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) 13 Oct signed “unified declaration” calling for approval of original BBL and rejecting “diluted BBL”. MILF representative said combatants becoming “restive” over delays in passage of bill. Representatives from two dozen countries 15 Oct issued signed statement of support for peace process and call for safeguards to prevent resumption of Mindanao conflict. Deadly clashes between military and Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) and New People’s Army (NPA) continued. ASG 8 Oct seized Italian citizen in Dipolog, 13 Oct released video of one Filipino and three foreign hostages appealing for military to halt bombing ASG hideout in Jolo island. NPA claimed responsibility for abduction and killing of Mayor Dario Otaza of Loreto, Agusan del Sur, and his son, citing “revolutionary justice” for Otaza’s alleged close ties with military.

Philippines

  |  1 Oct 2015

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Senate President Franklin Drilon and House Speaker Belmonte 23 Sept said Congress aims to pass Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) by 16 Dec. Recent versions of bill now refer to it as Basic Law on the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region (BLBAR). Govt 7 Sept activated National Task Force for the Disbandment of the Private Armed Groups to dismantle private armies in proposed Bangsamoro region. Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) 11 Sept threatened to stop surrendering firearms if BBL is “watered-down”; 18 Sept rejected changes to BBL proposed by congress, accepted govt’s official version of 25 Jan Mamasapano incident and expressed wish to “bury the issue”. Justice department 22 Sept recommended 90 suspects from MILF, BIFF and private armed groups be criminally charged with direct assault, murder and theft in connection with Mamasapano incident. Basilan Regional Trial Court 10 Sept officially declared Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) a terrorist group. ASG 14 Sept abducted ten civilians. ASG suspected of responsibility for bomb on bus in Zamboanga 18 Sept, killing one and wounding 32. Suspected ASG 21 Sept kidnapped four people including one Norwegian and two Canadian tourists in Samal. Military 21 Sept launched offensive against ASG in Sulu; reported 1,000 marines and army clashed with 30 ASG.

Philippines

  |  1 Sep 2015

Unchanged

Plenary session in House of Representatives on Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) stalled due to lack of quorum 4 and 5 Aug. Senator Ferdinand Marcos 12 Aug presented alternative BBL draft to Senate with 80% of provisions amended; govt peace panel 17 Aug said substitute BBL may encourage “personalistic” politics and perpetuate political dynasties by balancing representation in favour of district representatives. Meanwhile, MILF panel chair Iqbal has repeatedly said “no BBL is better than a bad BBL”. Senate plenary to debate substitute BBL late Aug. Plenary debate on national budget 28 Sept, Congress goes on recess 10 Oct-2 Nov. Suspected Abu Sayyaf (ASG) set off homemade bomb in Basilan 7 Aug, two soldiers killed; killed in ambush two soldiers in Sulu 10 Aug. Around 40 ASG militants clashes with members of armed civilian group Barangay Peace Action Team 15 Aug in Sulu, two ASG killed. Seven soldiers and 15 ASG killed in firefight in Sulu 20 Aug. Three ASG killed in clash with security forces in Sulu 28 Aug. New People’s Army (NPA) militants and military clashed in Masbate 5 Aug; four NPA and one soldier killed; five NPA killed in clash with military 19 Aug.

Philippines

  |  3 Aug 2015

Unchanged

House of Representatives Ad Hoc Committee on Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) 12 July announced resumption of BBL talks in Aug. President Aquino 27 July called for passage of BBL in State of the Nation Address. National Bureau of Investigation and National Prosecution Service joint fact-finding mission 16 July recommended investigation of 102 MILF and BIFF militants linked to 25 Jan clash in Mamasapano that killed 44 police commandos and eighteen MILF. Almost daily clashes in south, including: security forces 16 July conducted raid in Sulu, three Abu Sayyaf Group members killed; one soldier killed in BIFF attack in Maguindanao 6 July. New People’s Army (NPA) 11 July also conducted raid in Misamis Oriental, one soldier killed, one captured. NPA 27 July ambushed military convoy in Kalinga, three soldiers killed. Security forces 21 July arrested high-ranking NPA leader Ernesto Lorenzo.

Philippines

  |  1 Jul 2015

Unchanged

House of Representatives postponed deadline for passing proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) from 11 June, when Congress entered recess, to Sept. Senate 9 June agreed to remove BBL’s contentious opt-in clause, expected to decrease resistance to BBL among lawmakers. Moro Islamic Liberation Front 16 June surrendered 75 assault weapons, retired 145 fighters during decommissioning ceremony; official decommissioning process to begin after BBL is passed. Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) 8 June clashed with military, blew up water pipeline in Basilan; 27,000 residents displaced. Suspected ASG 16 June detonated pipe bomb, followed by brief clash with security forces in Basilan; one soldier killed, eight wounded. Security forces 21 June arrested suspected ASG member in Zamboanga, seized explosives. Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) attacks continued in Maguindanao; four civilians reported killed in ambush 18 June, two soldiers killed 22 June.

Philippines

  |  1 Jun 2015

Improved

House Ad Hoc Committee on the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) 20 May passed BBL, approving creation of new autonomous political entity; restored “opt-in” clause stating plebiscite for inclusion in Bangsamoro may be held in any local govt unit outside jurisdiction of Bangsamoro, opening up more provinces for inclusion in Bangsamoro. House appropriations committee 26 May approved BBL funding; House of Representatives to debate BBL early June, with target of passing it by 11 June when congress enters recess. MILF 20 May said it is “90% satisfied” with draft BBL. Senate report on BBL 21 May said BBL cannot be approved in its present form, pointing out some of its provisions require constitutional amendment. Govt troops 17 May retook two villages in Basilan from Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) after days of operations, 19 May clashed with ASG retaliating against civilians who killed five of its members in Panguturan island. MILF and military 6 May confirmed Basit Usman, bomb maker sought in botched counter-insurgency operation leading to January 2015 clash, killed by MILF 3 May.

Philippines

  |  30 Apr 2015

Unchanged

Deliberations on Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) in House of Representatives resumed 20 April; lawmakers debating who will exercise operational control over local police in future Bangsamoro region. Resumption of BBL hearings overshadowed by Department of Justice (DOJ)’s 22 April announcement of murder and theft charges against 90 MILF implicated in 25 Jan botched counter-insurgency operation in which 44 police commandos, seventeen MILF and five civilians killed. DOJ also released report same day stating MILF, MILF splinter group Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) and private armed groups continued to fire on police after they surrendered; MILF said report “very doubtful”, MILF acted in self-defence. International Monitoring Team, responsible for monitoring and upholding ceasefire, 6 April published report concluding both govt forces and MILF at fault for deadly clash, both violated ceasefire. MILF 17 April reiterated it would not surrender fighters implicated in clash to govt. BIFF leader Ameril Umra Kato reportedly died of heart attack 14 April; BIFF 19 April attacked army and police positions in Shariff Aguak, Datu Hofer and Datu Salibo, said attack was to show group still “alive and kicking”. MILF training facility in Iligan City dismantled 18 April by joint team of govt, MILF, Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process and CSO representatives.

Philippines

  |  1 Apr 2015

Unchanged

President Aquino facing political crisis as 13 March police investigative report stated that he bypassed chain of command of “defective” anti-terrorist operation in Mamasapano 25 Jan that saw 44 commandos, seventeen MILF and at least five killed in clash; also allowed former police chief friend to participate in mission despite being under suspension over graft allegations; and involvement of U.S. officials in intelligence sharing, medical evacuation. Report called for investigation to determine criminal liability, prompted calls for Aquino’s resignation. Aquino 9 March said he had been misled about details of Mamasapano operation. MILF 24 March submitted its report on Mamasapano incident to Senate, said police commando unit opened fire first and broke terms of ceasefire by not notifying MILF of operation in advance. After receiving report, Ferdinand Marcos, chairman of Senate Committee on Local Govt which will decide on Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL), scheduled resumption of BBL hearing for 13 April. MILF denied allegations that it had opened new training camp in Iligan City. Govt continued offensive against Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) in Maguindanao, said it would not affect peace process with MILF. UNHCR 20 March reported over 120,000 displaced in fighting in southern Philippines since late Jan. Dozens of rebels and several govt soldiers killed in fighting. Military captured leader of BIFF breakaway rebel group Justice Islamic Movement mid-March, 30 March ended offensive, said over 100 insurgents killed. One year since signing of Comprehensive Agreement on Bangsamoro, Aquino 27 March announced creation of citizens peace council led by national luminaries to make independent review of BBL.

Philippines

  |  2 Mar 2015

Unchanged

House of Representatives ad hoc committee on Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) 9 Feb said it would suspend hearings on BBL “indefinitely” pending House probe into 25 Jan deadly clash between police commandos and rebels; means BBL will not pass by previous March 2015 deadline, ahead of congress break in May. Committee chair joined calls for MILF to surrender its members who participated in attack on police; MILF says it disciplines its own fighters in line with 2014 ceasefire agreement, 18 Feb turned over sixteen firearms taken from police commandos. MILF chief negotiator 10 Feb said suspension “bad sign” but respected decision, would not resort to violence. Thousands of people in Mindanao took part in rallies 10 Feb calling on Congress to reconsider suspension of hearings on BBL, calling for BBL to be passed without further delay. MILF 16 Feb asked Congress to pass proposed BBL “with no changes”; 18 Feb said it could accept a diluted BBL, but that this would not address problems in Mindanao. MILF launched operation against breakaway Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) in North Cotabato province 5 Feb; thousands of civilians fled in subsequent clashes in N Cotabato and Maguindanao; BIFF 18 Feb threatened to target provincial capital. BIFF 20 Feb reiterated call for establishment of Islamic state, rejection of BBL. Military 20 Feb launched operation against BIFF in N Cotabato; also engaged in operation against Abu Sayyaf group late month, with 24 militants, two soldiers reported killed.

Philippines

  |  2 Feb 2015

Deteriorated

44 police commandos killed in clash with MILF militants in Tukanalipao village, Maguindanao province 25 Jan, at least seven civilians also killed; clash followed police operation to capture internationally wanted Malaysian terrorist suspect Zulkifli bin Hir aka Marwan. Govt said it believed Marwan to have been killed in operation. MILF blamed police for failing to notify them of presence in area in accordance with March 2014 ceasefire. Interior Minister said clash a “misencounter”, both govt and MILF expressed hope it would not derail peace talks. Incident prompted lawmakers to suspend parliamentary hearings related to passage of proposed Bangasamoro Basic Law (BBL); two senators withdrew support for bill. Amid public outrage and calls for retribution against militants, President Aquino in televised national address 28 Jan urged legislators and public not to abandon peace process. During national day of mourning 30 Jan Aquino pledged justice for those killed. Govt and MILF peace negotiators 30 Jan signed protocol for decommissioning of rebels. At least two killed, dozens wounded in explosion in Zamboanga City, Mindanao 24 Jan; authorities said Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) responsible. Followed killings of several ASG militants by army in earlier incidents.

Philippines

  |  5 Jan 2015

Unchanged

Chair of House of Representatives ad hoc committee on Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) 28 Dec said chamber will pass it by March 2015, following removal of provisions that go against constitution and completion of public hearings. Senate president also said he expects approval of BBL in first semester of 2015. MILF peace panel chair said group will begin decommissioning arms and fighters in Jan. Further attacks by splinter rebel groups opposed to peace agreement; bombing of bus in Mindanao 9 Dec that killed ten blamed on Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF); BIFF also denied involvement in 26 Dec ambush in Maguindanao in which three civilians killed. Eleven militants reported killed in clash between military and Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) in Basilan 4 Dec. Two soldiers and paramilitary killed in suspected New People’s Army attack in Compostela Valley 29 Dec. Two people killed, over 30 injured in bomb blast in Mlang, North Cotabato 31 Dec.

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. 

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