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After decades of insurgency, the government of the Philippines is making efforts to deliver peace to Mindanao in the south of the country. Although the creation of the Bangsamoro Transition Authority in 2019 can be seen as an initial success on the road to peace, this entity is faced with a difficult task in managing the transition until the 2022 elections. Violence continues between the government and several armed groups, including ISIS-affiliated elements and the communist New People's Army. Through field research and advocacy, Crisis Group works to support the peace processes, promote strategies designed to limit the space for jihadist recruitment and mobilisation, and strengthen social cohesion in Mindanao.

CrisisWatch Philippines

Unchanged Situation

Amid COVID-19 outbreak, ceasefire was declared between army and communist rebels, while violence continued in Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM). President Duterte 18 March declared unilateral ceasefire with communist insurgency 19 March-15 April, ending all offensive operations; founding chairman of Communist Party of the Philippines, Jose Maria Sison, 23 March recommended to all communist rebels to declare unilateral truce in direct response to UN’s call for global ceasefire to address COVID-19 epidemic; New People’s Army rebels 24 March declared they would observe ceasefire until 15 April. Several clashes took place early March between govt and communist insurgents in Luzon killing three rebels and injuring one soldier; ambush on Negros Island injured four soldiers. Congress 24 March granted country-wide emergency powers to Duterte to fight COVID-19 spread. In the South, clashes 2-6 March between Dawlah Islamiyah Torayfie Group (DITG) of Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) and military left at least 14 BIFF members killed and four soldiers dead in Maguindanao province. Feud between warring commanders of Moro Islamic Liberation Front 14 March re-erupted in Datu Saudi-Ampatuan village, Maguindanao. Unknown gunmen 16 March killed Maguindanao town councillor. Following 4 March meeting on “state of return for residents of Marawi city” between Senate’s Special Committee on Marawi City Rehabilitation and President Duterte, latter ordered the Budget Department to hasten the release of funds and called for establishment of a second military camp in Marawi, also vowed to visit Marawi regularly and monitor progress; while decision to have new military camp not yet final, resumption of idea could trigger tensions among local population.

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Reports & Briefings

In The News

19 Aug 2016
If [President] Duterte can move this [the peace deal] forward during this honeymoon period rapidly, it has a much better chance of going through. I think it's an opportunity that's a tragedy to lose. ABS-CBN News
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Latest Updates

Commentary / Asia

Philippines: Addressing Islamist Militancy after the Battle for Marawi

The Philippine city of Marawi, on Mindanao island, remains in ruins more than a year after a five-month jihadist takeover. To avoid fuelling militancy, Manila must involve locals in reconstruction, implement a 2014 deal with Mindanao separatists and go beyond efforts to counter jihadist ideology.

Op-Ed / Asia

Philippines Peace Process: Duterte Playing for High Stakes

Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte has put his weight unequivocally behind efforts to bring a negotiated end to more than four decades of conflict in the south of the country, but uncertainty is bleeding momentum from the process and the clock is ticking.

Originally published in The Interpreter

Op-Ed / Asia

The Philippines' Misguided Plan to Stop South China Sea Tensions

Cooperating on oil won't work - but fishing might.

Originally published in The National Interest

Op-Ed / Asia

Why Duterte Needs to Move Fast to End Decades-long Insurgency

The southern Philippines is potentially closer to peace than at any time in the four decades since Muslim insurgents started fighting for independence, but the substantial progress over the past six years is also fragile. The new President, Rodrigo Duterte, needs to build quickly on the foundations laid by the last administration or the process risks collapse.

Originally published in The Interpreter

Report / Asia

The Philippines: Renewing Prospects for Peace in Mindanao

Hopes are high that one of the world’s longest-running civil conflicts can be resolved in the Philippines. The newly-elected president must act on his commitment to the outgoing administration’s promise of autonomy for the southern Bangsamoro (Muslim Nation) population. Failure to do so risks more lawlessness or reigniting the insurgency.

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Georgi Engelbrecht

Senior Analyst, Philippines

Katrina Auditor

Fellow, Philippines