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

Insecurity persisted in south amid jihadist activity, clan violence and fighting between armed forces and communist militants. In Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, military 5 Aug killed gunman Khamhed Akan Kambal of Daulah Islamiyah-Hassan Group, allegedly linked to Islamic State, and arrested another member in Ampatuan town, Maguindanao province. Police 16 Aug arrested former barangay chairman and two cohorts suspected of connections to Islamic State-linked Daulah Islamiyah-Maute Group in Marantao municipality, Lanao del Sur province. Gunmen 30 Aug killed police chief and his driver and wounded three others in Ampatuan town. Two rival clans 10 Aug clashed in Macabual town, Pikit municipality, killing five, including four members of Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) factions, and displacing 100 families; police and MILF deployed peacekeepers and emissaries to contain violence. Militant surrenders continued during month. Notably, five Abu Sayaff Group (ASG) fighters 3 Aug surrendered in Talipao municipality, Sulu province; 13 ASG members 5 Aug surrendered in Ungkaya Pukan town, Basilan province; and two ASG members surrendered 11 Aug in Isabela city. Meanwhile, clashes between armed forces and communist New People’s Army continued; violence in Mindanao Island in south, Visayas Islands in centre and Luzon Island in north claimed at least 17 combatant and civilian fatalities and six injured. Provincial Local Govt Unit of Davao Occidental (Mindanao) and 10th Infantry “Agila” Division 18 Aug officially declared province “insurgency free”. Govt forces 22 Aug initially reported gunfire and boat explosion around Samar Island that allegedly killed Benito and Wilma Tiamzon, leaders of Communist Party; as of late month, military did not confirm deaths. President Marcos Jr. 12 Aug swore into office 80 members of Bangsamoro Transition Authority few months after his election as president. In Marawi city, Lanao del Sur province, Congressman Zia Alonto Adiong 15 Aug called on President Marcos Jr. to immediately establish Marawi Compensation Board to grant financial aid for 2017 Marawi siege victims, including 85,335 internally displaced people and those whose properties were damaged during fighting.

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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 opportun... ABS-CBN News
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Georgi Engelbrecht

Senior Analyst, Philippines
Georgi Engelbrecht