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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

Security forces clashed with militant groups in south as well as with communist rebels across country. In Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) in south, administration of Cotabato City 15 Dec was officially turned over to BARMM in accordance with Jan 2019 referendum. Clan violence continued at relatively lower levels than previous month, while clashes between insurgents and security forces remained at similar levels. In Maguindanao province, hostilities resumed between members of Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) and military; elements of BIFF under Kagi Karialan 3 Dec attacked police station and fired shots toward military detachment in Datu Piang town; members of BIFF 9 Dec attacked military detachment in Shariff Aguak town and 13 Dec clashed with military in Northern Kabuntalan municipality; mortar shelling 15 Dec killed one civilian and injured six others in Datu Salibo and parts of Datu Unsay municipalities. In south, implementation of peace agreement with Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) remained delayed as main focus was on fighting COVID-19; total cases countrywide rose to over 467,000, with average of 1,000-2,000 new cases daily throughout month. Following military operations against elements of Islamic State-linked Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) last month, small clashes between soldiers and ASG militants continued in Zamboanga del Norte and Sulu provinces; military 2 Dec clashed with suspected militants in Sibuco municipality; clashes 17 Dec injured at least five soldiers in Patikul municipality; police raid same day killed one militant in Ipil municipality. Meanwhile, clashes between armed forces and communist New People’s Army (NPA) continued in Luzon in north, Visayas in centre and Mindanao in south with at least 27 combatants and civilians killed and three injured throughout month. On island of Negros, unknown gunmen on motorcycles 15 Dec shot and killed a female doctor and her husband who led community’s response to COVID-19 after they were linked to communist rebels.

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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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Commentary / Asia

A Young Leader in the Philippines’ Battle-scarred ‘Islamic City’

It is a challenge to represent South Madaya Proper, a district in Marawi, the Philippines’ historic “Islamic city”, depopulated two years ago in a battle between government forces and jihadists. To do so, a young council chair says, she acts as both official and activist.

Report / Asia

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Commentary / Asia

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Georgi Engelbrecht

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